Random Conversations on Tumblr

 Just some of the conversations I’ve been reading, and sometimes participating in, on Tumblr. Incidentally, you should check out my Tumblr page. It’s a bit different from this one, in that I post more about politics, and social issues, along with more casual things like goofy animals, and silly discussions.

Robots and Race

* The TV Series Humans has just finished its third season, and quite a number of fans are unhappy. I watched the second season and noticed that race wasn’t much talked about, although since many of the robots featured depict different races, it should have.
The star character for some of the major plotlines was Gemma Chan’s, Mia. She was killed in the season finale, and fans felt some type of way about that. I didn’t watch the third season because I had gotten bored with the show.
But something in EAWS’s essay, about how Mia was treated on the show, and the third season’s approach to racial issues, prompted thoughts from me about how the subject of racism is depicted in science fiction/fantasy shows, especially when the writers are White. I’ve noticed that they are often not honest about White culpability in the invention of modern racism.
I’ve been noticing this trend, and I had some things to say about.
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Humans is one of those shows that is racially diverse on the surface, but in reality is very safe, very white-centric (yes, even with having Mia and Max in the main cast).

“Äkta människor”, the original Swedish show had its own problems with writing the characters of color,  but it was always very clear that the in-universe “Real Humans” (”We are People”) movement was a direct parallel to the white supremacist, anti-immigrant alt right groups / political parties, and all their members were portrayed by the white actors.

Humans, however, while also pretending to be a sci fi allegory of real life racism and xenophobia, makes sure that for each bigoted white character there’s always a Bigoted Character of Color. Just a few examples –

  • a random Black man, a member of alt-right “We Are People” movement, in s1 holding an anti-synth banner and shouting anti-synth propaganda;
  • Thusitha Jayasundera’s Neha in s2 was leading a case against Niska, yes, she went through massive character development in s3, and became an active synth rights supporter, but in her own words, she changed her views mainly because of Laura (a white woman);
  • a xenophobic anti-synth cameo character played by Naoko Mori in s2;
  • Ed’s bigoted Black friend, who persuaded Ed to sell Mia (which in turn made it easier for the writers to redeem Ed in s3 – “Ed wasn’t a racist who dehumanized his girlfriend of color, he was just a weak man, who followed an advice from his Black friend, it’s the Black friend, who is the /real/ racist” – that’s the writers’ message here);
  • a Black woman police officer, who profiled Mia in s3;
  • a random Angry Black Woman on the street, that attacked Mia in s3;
  • a Brown Muslim politician on the Synth commission, that was presented more anti-synth, than a white guy, who lead the commission (s3);
  • an anti-synth Brown Head of the Police, member of the commission;
  • an unnamed Black man leading the human supremacist group against the synth compound, targeting Max and Mia (3×08).

Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, third time is a pattern, as they say.

  Keep reading

What was the point in changing what was basically a white nationalist into a Black xenophobe? Intersectional bigotry exists, yes. But white writers of Äkta människor managed to show intersectional bigotry through white characters – they had xenophobic white gay character and a homophobic white hubot/synth, they even had a weeb. Brown writers of Cleverman showed intersectional bigotry through Koen (in s1) and Waruu West in s2. But when white writers prefer to show Black and Brown characters as the “real” racists (like Sense8the only reason for that is that the writers don’t want to touch the subject of white supremacy because it makes them uncomfortable. *

I love this, and I just want to piggyback a little bit off this post for a minute:

This is one of the major reasons why I dislike racism allegories written by White writers. They often, and very deliberately, get these allegories wrong by trying to equate racism and white nationalism, with “reverse racism” (which is not a thing, btw). They often do this by casting PoC as virulent racists against whatever out-group is the stand-in for a marginalized group in the narrative, whether its robots, supernatural creatures, or aliens.

I’ve seen this happen in a lot of fantasy, and sci-fi narratives written by White writers, who are attempting to lecture their audience on how bad racism is, all while trying never to acknowledge the elephant in the room: That our current model of racism, they are riffing on, was invented by White people.

They often make these virulently racist characters Black as well. In Heroes, the nasty racist, who wanted to kill all heroes, was a Black woman, who actually killed children. In District 9, the African characters were racist against the aliens, monetarily prostituting them, exploiting them, and even cannibalizing them, (which is a whole other nastily racist trope about people from the African continent, that I simply cannot believe no one caught.) In the X-Men/New Mutants TV Series, The Gifted, you have a Black man, as a member of the government, hunting down the mutants, to put them in concentration camps, and in Teen Wolf, you have a Black woman who wants to destroy all supernatural creatures, and yet again, advocates killing children to accomplish her goal.

It’s even worse when sometimes these are the only Black characters in the entire narrative, or worse yet, Black women.

There is already a dearth of Black women in fantasy and sci-fi media, so Black women being cast in these roles (of killing children) is an especially nasty trope, that needs to fucking die, especially when you consider that it is real life Black women, who know, above all else, what it is like to lose their children to violence, and are working hard right now to protect their children from things like gang violence and police brutality. Real life Black women work damn hard to counter the very narratives these characters are advocating in these shows. To then cast these (always dark-skinned, with natural hair, because its simply not enough that they be Black) women as the advocates and killers of children, in these shows, is an especially insulting slap in the face to Black fans, as Black women are some of the hardest fighters against racism and sexism, being so often on the receiving end of both, and to keep seeing them cast in these roles is more than a little enraging.

I know the point the writers are trying to make is that there’s racism on all sides and that anybody can be racist, but that message is more than a little self-serving, especially when you consider that it is only White writers who tout this message, in their allegories about bigotry. So, not only are they appropriating our stories of oppression (all things that have been done by Whites to everyone else) to use for non-human beings, but casting PoC in these roles as the oppressors, because they want to express the idea that that type of racism and bigotry is an equal opportunity position. By doing that, they thereby remove themselves from collusion with the issue and relieve their own guilt.

 

Source: 

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*And then there’s this problem, which is seen in every scifi/ fantasy racial allegory from True Blood, to Zootopia, to Bladerunner, to Bright, to The X-Men……… 
Yet it’s the kind of parable that turns up over and over again in science fiction and fantasy stories that are reportedly trying to convey a message of tolerance. “Look, we get that you’re having trouble seeing minorities as humans, so perhaps it would help if you imagined them as something that is A) objectively not human and B) inherently dangerous.”…
…What makes it worse — and weirder — is that writers can’t resist giving these marginalized groups some kind of superpowers, which in turn actually gives the fictional society a legitimate reason to fear them.

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Image result for robots and racism

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Science Fiction Genre and Race

 *White writers also have a tendency to be lacking when it comes to imagining futuristic depictions of race, often simply reproducing the same racial issues (and many of the same stereotypes) that exist right now. The situations of various PoC simply never changed. We’re still sassy sidekicks, living in poverty, model minorities, or just erased.

https://psmag.com/social-justice/welcome-to-the-post-racial-future-its-still-pretty-racist

Altered Carbon presents a world that looks post-racial, and in which humanity has escaped from identity, and identity politics, once and for all. But even when bodies are interchangeable commodities, certain bodies are treated as having more value than others. for the greater profit of rich people and white people, and especially of rich white people.

 

I’m surprised a film of this magnitude and of this scale decided to show one of the most regressive and most racially-charged images I’d seen in a while; replicant Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), the replicant assistant to Niander Wallace (Jared Leto)  is shown getting her nails electronically altered by a small Asian man, whose hunched over, deep in his work.

The stereotype of the Asian nail salon tech has made its way into the future.

 

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/03/-em-star-wars-em-and-the-4-ways-science-fiction-handles-race/359507/

 Sci-fi likes to believe it can imagine anything, but, especially in its mainstream incarnations, it’s clearly a lot more comfortable imagining race in contexts where the topic is dealt with obliquely or simply not mentioned or foregrounded. In this area, Hollywood adventures are strikingly timid. 

 

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Black Feminism

*Discussion of Black women as love interests. By saying that Thor is only interested in Valkyrie, as a heroic figure, it  is akin to saying she’s a strong, independent, Black woman, who don’t need no man, and how this does not take into account intersectional femininity:

Image result for black women saviors
The Problem with Valkyrie Being Simply a “Hero” to Thor

So…I get not everyone is going to understand this, especially if someone is not a Black woman and doesn’t have our experiences, so I’m going to try to lay this out as nicely as possible and try not to come off too harsh.

I’m going to start off with a quote from Alice Walker:

“Black women are called, in the folklore that so aptly indentifies one’s status in society, ‘the mule of the world,’ because we have been handed the burdens that everyone else–everyone else–refused to carry. We have also been called ‘Matriarchs,’ ‘Superwomen,’ and ‘Mean and Evil Bitches.’ Not to mention ‘Castraters’ and ‘Sapphire’s Mama.’“

You see, Black women are expected to be the “hero” of someone else’s story. We’re expected to be “the help.” The “mystical hero.” The “sassy friend.” We’re always there to help out the lead, but we’re never the love interest.

Chris Hemsworth has said himself that Thor is “smitten” by Valkyrie…when you disregard that and say she’s simply his hero and that it’s refreshing that he’s not admiring her in a romantic way, you are confusing your experience as a non-Black woman with ours.

Black women have historically been masculinized and fetishized. We’re either seen as too unattractive for love or too sexual to be romanticized. So, when we are put on a pedestal as a hero, it’s not at all refreshing. It’s the same ol’ same ol’. Now, being adored and loved? That’s something Black women never get to see for themselves.

It’s something that has slowly been changing, but the more it changes, the more pushback is given in response. CW’s Iris West is nitpicked as a character for the silliest things while the fandom constantly ships Barry with Caitlin, a white character who has shown no interest in him or vice versa. Even the actress cannot escape the anger from fans who prefer the lead be paired with a white woman. She faces constant harassment on her social media on a regular basis.

So, while it might be revolutionary for white female leads and other non-Black female leads to be looked at like heroes rather than love interests, it’s not so much for Black women. So rarely are we given the message that we too can be worthy of love. Please tread carefully when you suggest that a Black woman being seen as a man’s hero rather than love interest is “refreshing.”

 

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Humorous Interlude

 

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*The discussion, on the adoption and care of the Roomba, continues: 

 gaymilesedgeworth

after i move i really wanna get a used roomba

 

gaymilesedgeworth

biggest-gaudiest-patronuses

just remember they’re social animals and should always be kept in pairs, don’t get a roomba if you aren’t prepared for that responsibility

 

fireheartedkaratepup

That’s a common misconception. Roombas do perfectly fine on their own if you spend quality time with them! They group together in the wild for protection, but when they have no natural predators in the area they often choose to live alone.

 

biggest-gaudiest-patronuses

i didn’t know that! do you have any advice on roomba breeding and the problem with parent roombas’ tendency towards eating their young?

 

ironbite4

……..I’m nuking this entire hell planet from orbit.

 

biggest-gaudiest-patronuses

even the roombas?

 

ironbite4

The roombas are coming with me.  Can’t let them stay with you crazy people.

 

Source: gaymilesedgeworth

 

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Representation

*I loved this speech about the importance of representation and inclusion:

Rick Riordan won a Stonewall for 2017

rosetintmyworld84

 

Rick Riordan was awarded the Stonewall Book Award for his second Magnus Chase book, due to the inclusion of the character Alex Fierro who is gender fluid. This was the speech he gave, and it really distills why I love this author and his works so much, and why I will always recommend his works to anyone and everyone.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. As I told the Stonewall Award Committee, this is an honor both humbling and unexpected.

So, what is an old cis straight white male doing up here? Where did I get the nerve to write Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender fluid child of Loki in The Hammer of Thor, and why should I get cookies for that?

These are all fair and valid questions, which I have been asking myself a lot.

I think, to support young LGBTQ readers, the most important thing publishing can do is to publish and promote more stories by LGBTQ authors, authentic experiences by authentic voices. We have to keep pushing for this. The Stonewall committee’s work is a critical part of that effort. I can only accept the Stonewall Award in the sense that I accept a call to action – firstly, to do more myself to read and promote books by LGBTQ authors.

But also, it’s a call to do better in my own writing. As one of my genderqueer readers told me recently, “Hey, thanks for Alex. You didn’t do a terrible job!” I thought: Yes! Not doing a terrible job was my goal!

As important as it is to offer authentic voices and empower authors and role models from within LGBTQ community, it’s is also important that LGBTQ kids see themselves reflected and valued in the larger world of mass media, including my books. I know this because my non-heteronormative readers tell me so. They actively lobby to see characters like themselves in my books. They like the universe I’ve created. They want to be part of it. They deserve that opportunity. It’s important that I, as a mainstream author, say, “I see you. You matter. Your life experience may not be like mine, but it is no less valid and no less real. I will do whatever I can to understand and accurately include you in my stories, in my world. I will not erase you.”

People all over the political spectrum often ask me, “Why can’t you just stay silent on these issues? Just don’t include LGBTQ material and everybody will be happy.” This assumes that silence is the natural neutral position. But silence is not neutral. It’s an active choice. Silence is great when you are listening. Silence is not so great when you are using it to ignore or exclude.

But that’s all macro, ‘big picture’ stuff. Yes, I think the principles are important. Yes, in the abstract, I feel an obligation to write the world as I see it: beautiful because of its variations. Where I can’t draw on personal experience, I listen, I read a lot – in particular I want to credit Beyond Magenta and Gender Outlaws for helping me understand more about the perspective of my character Alex Fierro – and I trust that much of the human experience is universal. You can’t go too far wrong if you use empathy as your lens. But the reason I wrote Alex Fierro, or Nico di Angelo, or any of my characters, is much more personal.

I was a teacher for many years, in public and private school, California and Texas. During those years, I taught all kinds of kids. I want them all to know that I see them. They matter. I write characters to honor my students, and to make up for what I wished I could have done for them in the classroom.

I think about my former student Adrian (a pseudonym), back in the 90s in San Francisco. Adrian used the pronouns he and him, so I will call him that, but I suspect Adrian might have had more freedom and more options as to how he self-identified in school were he growing up today. His peers, his teachers, his family all understood that Adrian was female, despite his birth designation. Since kindergarten, he had self-selected to be among the girls – socially, athletically, academically. He was one of our girls. And although he got support and acceptance at the school, I don’t know that I helped him as much as I could, or that I tried to understand his needs and his journey. At that time in my life, I didn’t have the experience, the vocabulary, or frankly the emotional capacity to have that conversation. When we broke into social skills groups, for instance, boys apart from girls, he came into my group with the boys, I think because he felt it was required, but I feel like I missed the opportunity to sit with him and ask him what he wanted. And to assure him it was okay, whichever choice he made. I learned more from Adrian than I taught him. Twenty years later, Alex Fierro is for Adrian.

I think about Jane (pseudonym), another one of my students who was a straight cis-female with two fantastic moms. Again, for LGBTQ families, San Francisco was a pretty good place to live in the 90s, but as we know, prejudice has no geographical border. You cannot build a wall high enough to keep it out. I know Jane got flack about her family. I did what I could to support her, but I don’t think I did enough. I remember the day Jane’s drama class was happening in my classroom. The teacher was new – our first African American male teacher, which we were all really excited about – and this was only his third week. I was sitting at my desk, grading papers, while the teacher did a free association exercise. One of his examples was ‘fruit – gay.’ I think he did it because he thought it would be funny to middle schoolers. After the class, I asked to see the teacher one on one. I asked him to be aware of what he was saying and how that might be hurtful. I know. Me, a white guy, lecturing this Black teacher about hurtful words. He got defensive and quit because he said he could not promise to not use that language again. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something, to stand up especially for Jane and her family. But did I make things better handling it as I did? I think I missed an opportunity to open a dialogue about how different people experience hurtful labels. Emmie and Josephine and their daughter Georgina, the family I introduced in The Dark Prophecy, are for Jane.

I think about Amy, and Mark, and Nicholas … All former students who have come out as gay since I taught them in middle school. All have gone on to have successful careers and happy families. When I taught them, I knew they were different. Their struggles were greater, their perspectives more divergent than some of my other students. I tried to provide a safe space for them, to model respect, but in retrospect, I don’t think I supported them as well as I could have, or reached out as much as they might have needed. I was too busy preparing lessons on Shakespeare or adjectives, and not focusing enough on my students’ emotional health. Adjectives were a lot easier for me to reconcile than feelings. Would they have felt comfortable coming out earlier than college or high school if they had found more support in middle school? Would they have wanted to? I don’t know. But I don’t think they felt it was a safe option, which leaves me thinking that I did not do enough for them at that critical middle school time. I do not want any kid to feel alone, invisible, misunderstood. Nico di Angelo is for Amy, and Mark and Nicholas.

I am trying to do more. Percy Jackson started as a way to empower kids, in particular, my son, who had learning differences. As my platform grew, I felt obliged to use it to empower all kids who are struggling through middle school for whatever reason. I don’t always do enough. I don’t always get it right. Good intentions are wonderful things, but at the end of a manuscript, the text has to stand on its own. What I meant ceases to matter. Kids just see what I wrote. But I have to keep trying. My kids are counting on me.

So thank you, above all, to my former students who taught me. Alex Fierro is for you.

To you, I pledge myself to do better – to apologize when I screw up, to learn from my mistakes, to be there for LGBTQ youth and make sure they know that in my books, they are included. They matter. I am going to stop talking now, but I promise you I won’t stop listening.”

 

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Dinosaurs

Image result for mosasaur gif

*This entire review is basically the only reason people got to see these films. We’re certainly not watching them for the people in them.

Now, I’ve told you guys how much my Mom loves movies about people being eaten by things, so if she says something was a bad movie, take what she says as the truth. This woman will watch almost anything with giant creatures chasing and eating people, and she hated this movie!

I’m probably one of the few people that didn’t actually hate this movie, although I hated most of the people in it, and spent some amount of time rooting for my three favorite dinosaurs: the T-Rex(which I have named Sue), the velociraptor named Blue, and the mosasaur from the last movie, which I have, henceforth, named Molly.

 

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The Apocalypse

*I had to leave a response to this because the whole idea of the zombie apocalypse has now become nothing more than power a fantasy for White men, who all imagine they’re gonna be Negan, from The Walking Dead. 

I’m not watching any more shows, or reading any more zombie apocalypse novels, with White men in the center of the story. Most zombie novels and movies only feature White, middle-class people, and focus on their reactions to the loss of electricity, I guess.  Despite the existence of most of the world’s infrastructure, and the clear examples of what human beings would actually do when encountering catastrophe, in places like Puerto Rico and  Katrina, apparently one’s immediate reaction is to run amok in the streets, trying to kill each other for food.

I’m ready for some stories featuring unconventional heroes, in diverse environments. This is why I enjoyed World War Z (the book). How does the zombie apocalypse affect the plains of Africa or the mountains of Tibet? The slums of India? Or the favelas of Brazil?

Its also interesting to note that none of the pop culture we know, exists in any of these universe created by the zombie apocalypse. It’s always a surprise to the inhabitants of these stories as if they’d never heard of zombies. They always have to start from scratch. What if we just didn’t? I want to read a story (or watch a show) where all the Black, and Latinx people, in the ‘hood,  lived, because we’ve all been watching movies about the zombie apocalypse for decades, and we know all the rules and the tropes.

why is there no electricity after the apocalypse?

jumpingjacktrash

 

something people writing post-apocalyptic fiction always seem to forget is how extremely easy basic 20th century technology is to achieve if you have a high school education (or the equivalent books from an abandoned library), a few tools (of the type that take 20 years to rust away even if left out in the elements), and the kind of metal scrap you can strip out of a trashed building.

if you want an 18th century tech level, you really need to somehow explain the total failure of humanity as a whole to rebuild their basic tech infrastructure in the decade after your apocalypse event.

i am not a scientist or an engineer, i’m just a house husband with about the level of tech know-how it takes to troubleshoot a lawn mower engine, but i could set up a series of wind turbines and storage batteries for a survivor compound with a few weeks of trial and error out of the stuff my neighbors could loot from the wreckage of the menards out on highway 3. hell, chances are the menards has a couple roof turbines in stock right now. or you could retrofit some from ceiling fans; electric motors and electric generators are the same thing, basically.

radio is garage-tinkering level tech too. so are electric/mechanical medical devices like ventilators and blood pressure cuffs. internal combustion’s trickiest engineering challenge is maintaining your seals without a good source of replacement parts, so after a few years you’re going to be experimenting with o-rings cut out of hot water bottles, but fuel is nbd. you can use alcohol. you can make bio diesel in your back yard. you can use left-over cooking oil, ffs.

what i’m saying is, we really have to stop doing the thing where after the meteor/zombies/alien invasion/whatever everyone is suddenly doing ‘little house on the prairie’ cosplay. unless every bit of metal or every bit of knowlege is somehow erased, folks are going to get set back to 1950 at the most. and you need to account somehow for stopping them from rebuilding the modern world, because that’s going to be a lot of people’s main life goal from the moment the apocalypse lets them have a minute to breathe.

nobody who remembers flush toilets will ever be content with living the medieval life, is what i’m saying. let’s stop writing the No Tech World scenario.

 

lkeke35

As a corollary to the above:

I’ve been saying this about the Zombie apocalypse for years. What city dwellers do you know are gonna immediately drop everything, run out to the woods, and live at a subsistence level, just because dead people are walking around? People with disabilities, allergies, or elderly parents to care for, ain’t going to be doing any such thing. Why is the advice given to people, that they need a “bug out” plan just because the dead are walking? I’m not buying it.

I live in the hood. Do you know how many handymen we have in the hood? How many military personnel? Or even homebody engineers? Do you have any clue how resourceful and cooperative poor people are, and have to be, to survive even with electricity? And how many of us have been trained to expect the best, but plan for the worst case scenario. No, you don’t, because that idea of poverty is never represented in popular culture. Shit! A zombie apocalypse won’t even ruffle our fucking hair. We’ll come up with ways to kill the zombies while keeping it moving. Hell, my brother, all by himself, could have the electricity up and running, a defensive tower, a moat, schooling, and gardening, all in the space of two weeks, and entirely organized by my mother.

It’s also interesting to me that all zombie apocalypse narratives only seem to consist of middle-class, white, suburbanites trying to survive, with a handful of PoC thrown in like confetti. The most that White writers can imagine, for PoC, even during the apocalypse, is that we all die? Really! That seems to be their only scenario. They don’t take into account that poor Black people have been taking care of each other since the invention of poor people. The poor have never believed in an isolationist, go it alone, ruggedly individual attitude, when it comes to surviving, because we couldn’t afford that! That’s the kind of attitude that only people, with all of their basic needs met, could adopt as a life strategy. Poor people are not lazy, and of everyone, they would be the most likely to survive the apocalypse, because we have experience with surviving hardship and insecurity!

On the other hand, the middle-class white guys who invent these types of stories are obsessed with that attitude. They really think that as soon as the electricity stops, people are gonna lose their gotdamn minds, and start trying to kill their neighbors for fun and food, or planning a long journey to go find their wife, son, daughter, lost somewhere in the pre-tech Badlands! Not even taking into account that we have real-life scenarios right here, right now, that we can look at and figure out that most people aren’t gonna act like that. (*cough, ahem! Puerto Rico! Cough*).

I have long come to understand that apocalypse scenario are just wish fulfillment fantasies for middle-class white guys who think that the end of the world will make them the heroes they always wanted to be. As a result, I’m no longer interested in apocalypse scenarios with white men in the center of them as the heroes, and yes, I’m also talking about a certain TV show, too.

 

Source: jumpingjacktrash
Actually, I’ve noticed one staple of almost all apocalyptic fiction written by White people: In everything, from those Purge movies, to alien invasion, and zombie apocalypse movies, the White Western reaction seems to be “go out and kill each other”.
I’m mostly talking about the Purge films, where the premise is that all crime is free for 12 or 24 hours, but all people can think of to do is kill each other. Are you kidding me? Can we get an Oceans 11 version of The Purge, where someone has been planning the perfect heist, all year long? Actually,  I hate the Purge movies because the movies create more questions than they answer, and my super-villain brain keeps trying to organize the cultural, social, and legal implications of such an arrangement.
In a lot of American apocalyptic fiction, we never get any idea how the rest of the world is handling the destruction of the “civilized” world, or even if the rest of the world is experiencing it at all. For all we know, it’s only the Americans and Europeans who have lost their damn minds, and the Canadians are doing just fine! How do we know the Aussies haven’t just all gone punchy from the heat,  put on some fetish gear,  and decide to ride around in the desert?
When White men write about the apocalypse, they often seem to write about destroying whatever, and whoever is left.  Now contrast all that with how Women and PoC write about the apocalypse:
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/olivia-cole/people-of-color-do-surviv_b_5126206.html
https://www.indiewire.com/2016/03/women-and-poc-survive-the-apocalypse-march-2016s-vod-and-web-series-picks-202649/

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Fandom

Image result for fandom gif

*Advice on how to NOT be a shitty fanfiction writer:

There IS such a thing as a bad premise. A story that relies on accepting racism, sexism, homophobia etc as valid or justifiable or not something that needs to be contested, like any story that can not exist or function as is if you take those elements out…is a fundamentally bad fucking premise.

Nobody questions the existence of good ideas. Why do some people fight so damn hard to deny that there is such a thing as a bad idea?

Every idea a person has ever had does not NEED to be put out there. Not every idea leads somewhere good.

And each and everyone of us is capable of evaluating whether an idea we have is good or not. If it’ll do harm or not. We each have the capacity to look at an idea we have and say…yeah that’s not really workable. And just….not share it.

This isn’t an imposition. This isn’t censorship. This is basic human awareness of the fact that ideas in our brain impact us and us alone. Ideas we make the choice to enact in the world in some fashion impact others as well as us.

So fucking many of you resort to crying censorship when all that’s being asked of you is applying some scrutiny to what ideas you decide to share, because you can’t seem to wrap your heads around the idea that someone else telling you what you can and can’t write isn’t the only conclusion to be made from conversations about creative responsibility.

Because you just can’t seem to fathom the concept that you could just decide for yourself…oh, huh, I don’t actually HAVE to do this thing I’m digging my heels in about. It’s not a binary equation. It’s not either I do this or I do nothing at all and I might as well just have no rights or freedoms whatsoever gawd.

It’s almost like it’s actually….hmmm when examining the endless array of possibilities that go into crafting ideas and honing them and all the variables that act as search filters to narrow down my selection process of what areas to focus on, what elements to include….what if ‘hey is this idea one that appropriates shit that’s outside my lane or perpetuates harmful and toxic tropes’ was just an added search filter used in that process?

 

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 Post-lude

moami

if you find bones in the forest, sit a bit and listen. they are old and have some good stories to tell. maybe they’ll teach you a spell or two, or explain where the water on our planet came from.

if you find bones by the ocean, run. don’t look back. run, faster, faster. the sea may love you but there are nights where she knows neither mercy nor science, and the bones warn you only once.

deseng

boi if you find bones call the police i hate this website so much

moami

this is a piece of creative writing, in case you couldn’t tell from the fact that real bones don’t usually go hey lil’ mama lemme whisper bony secrets in your ear or warn you of the incoming tides like a calcified weather frog.

Source: moami
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Captain America Civil War Meta

One of the reasons I like Tumblr so much is that its much easier to find in depth analysis of some of my favorite movies and characters, that go well beyond your typical, glossy movie reviews. In fact, Tumblr is almost famous for this.

*I do actually like Tony despite my criticism of this character. I sympathize with Tony and his efforts to try to do good, and understand he’s gone through a lot of trauma he’s simply not dealing with very well. But at the same time, I also acknowledge that this does not excuse Tony’s fuckups. I like Tony because in the Iron Man movies he is willing to acknowledge when he’s messed up and apologize for his mistakes. That’s not the problem. The problem is that he goes on to make all new, horrible mistakes.

starkassembled

a piece about Tony Stark’s mental state throughout the MCU [spoilers below cut]

Tony Stark, of the original team, is the only civilian after Bruce. But there are some key differences between he and Bruce. Bruce is treated delicately by the team after he comes back from the Hulk. They give him his space, let him listen to his chill out remix. They let him come down in his own time. I also think that Bruce has demonstrated that he has a solid handle on himself. He grapples with a huge amount of guilt (and anger), but he’s never demonstrated any signs of trauma. He’s upset by some of the destruction he causes, but he’s found a balance, probably in his own research into ways to calm himself and balance his anger, that’s helped him be able to live with himself without snapping.

Tony Stark doesn’t have that. Tony is a civilian, with no proper training other than the training he’s put himself through in order to operate the suit. Sure, he was a military weapons contractor most of his life, he’s been around military most of his life, but he’s never seen violence and combat like he has since the kidnapping.

Tony’s also demonstrated that he really has no healthy way to handle his guilt, his pain. He bottles things up and he shoves them to the side to deal with later. Except he doesn’t want to deal with it later. So he tinkers and he builds and with each subsequent betrayal of his trust throughout his film appearances, it only serves to increase his paranoia, increase his anxiety, make his survivor’s guilt that much deeper.

Tony has slowly been losing his mind since his kidnapping in IM1. He’s nearly killed in a bombing by one of his own stolen weapons. He’s held hostage by a terror cell, he’s learning that his weapons that he built to protect his country are somehow ending up in the hands of terrorists and murderers. So when he goes home, he immediately shuts down his weapons manufacturing and starts building a way to get his weapons out of those hands.

He learns that his father figure of the last 30 years has betrayed him, is trying to take over his company, has been selling his weapons to terrorists all this time and tried to have him killed.

He’s grappling with the guilt and the weight of the lives and livelihoods destroyed by his stolen weapons that he can never make amends for. And then he’s dying, he tries to give his life away to his friends while pushing them away to spare them any pain his inevitable death may cause.

And then months later he’s flying through a wormhole, his suit goes dead and all he can do is watch as a nuke tears apart the Chitauri fleet before his eyes as his exit gets smaller and smaller. He could die here. Die floating out in the silence and dark expanse of space. He won’t get a burial. He won’t be laid to rest beside his mother.

But he manages to fall out at the last moment, but every night he’s back there, back in space, unsure if the blast will reach him before he chokes to death.

He has no time for any therapy, because the world always needs saving. He continues to work, his PTSD and survivor’s guilt gets worse and worse, eating away at him. He builds himself an army of armors to try and keep himself and his friends safe.

*(Technically, he does have time for therapy, as the final scene of The Avengers shows. He just refuses to get any more, and chooses the wrong therapist.)

He tries to give it up for Pepper, because it’s what Pepper wants and he’d do anything for her. But he can’t give it up, not when there are innocent lives at risk. So he makes new suits. He makes the Iron Legion. He’s trying to find a way to protect the world while being able to retire. To get some rest. To find some peace. Hopefully to get some therapy. But that time never comes because in all his paranoid efforts to build peace, he builds destruction instead. Ultron tries to end the world and the team stops him, but at the cost of a country. At the cost of thousands of lives. And he tries to do his best to save as many people as he could, but it’s too much.

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*Bucky was born in a different era nd under very different circumstances than Tony, but still, contrast Bucky’s methods of coping with the trauma of the things he’s done, with Tony’s methods.

“But I Did It”- Guilt in Captain America: Civil War

I came away from Civil War really struck by how overwhelming the theme of guilt was. It motivates people to do selfless things, it motivates people to do selfish things, and it’s the driving force behind the ultimate showdown between Bucky and Tony. What the movie does though is contrast the fashion people deal with their guilt.

Tony and Bucky are both people consumed by guilt. In both cases it’s guilt over things they ultimately had no control over. Tony couldn’t have predicted that his parents would die with so many things left unsaid between them and him, yet when we first see him he’s reliving that moment over and over. Tony is steeped in even more guilt when his actions in creating Ultron are thrown back in his face by a victim’s mother. He’s even guilty that his teammates hold him responsible for their containment. The crux of the issue is that Tony just can’t let it go. He’s willing to stare his flaws in the face, but he’s unwilling to forgive himself for those flaws, which leads to an issue I’ll get to in a second. Tony is stuck in an endless guilt loop. His attempts to fix things always seem to lead to more issues that lead to more guilt. He’s understandably frustrated because he’s just so driven to try to make things RIGHT that he’s willing to clash hard and often with people who don’t agree with his ideas. Ultimately the government might be right that the Avengers should have some limitations put on them, but Tony is so desperate to try to fix or at least ease his mind over what he feels like he’s responsible for that he makes agreements and does things without looking at every angle. He flogs himself over his mistakes, but he can’t even really articulate the real problem: acceptance that sometimes things happen no matter what and you’re going to have to live with them.

*Now contrast that  with what Steve says to Wanda after the incident in Africa. These are exactly  Steve’s words to her.

It’s Bucky who actually voices what is Tony’s issue as well as his. As Steve tries to tell his friend that it was Hydra’s fault and that “it wasn’t really you doing those things” during his assassin days, Bucky calmly and quietly looks up and says “but I did it”. It doesn’t matter to Bucky who MADE him do it. It doesn’t matter to him that he was just the weapon. What matters to him is that he did it. He has to live with that. He has to see something he caused happen in his mind over and over again. He ultimately takes responsibility, and in doing that he echoes something Steve says earlier about being willing to shoulder the blame over things that go wrong. What Steve doesn’t address is not just being willing to bear the consequences of mistakes, but being willing to move forward from there.

That’s the real issue. Not whose fault it ultimately is, but the fact that both Tony and Bucky, in their minds, DID IT. They have to live with that. They have to live with something that no amount of reassurance from outsiders can fix. All the love and understanding in the world can’t help someone who won’t move out of the guilt cycle. And in the end that’s why Tony, in spite of knowing Bucky had no control over his actions in killing the Starks, attempts to kill him. I think it would be easy to claim Tony is motivated purely by revenge, but I think it’s more than that. Tony of anyone should be able to understand someone causing something horrible inadvertently. He’s been in Bucky’s place. He’s caused damage without really knowing it. He KNOWS Bucky was programmed, even calls him the “Manchurian Candidate” at one point proving he completely believes Bucky had no control over his actions. Part of the reason Tony can’t accept Bucky’s moral innocence in what he did is because he can’t accept his own. Tony can’t consider forgiving Bucky because he can’t forgive himself. Tony’s generally a reasonable person, but he’s willing to flat out murder Bucky in the end even though he’s aware Bucky was just the weapon that HYDRA used to kill his parents. Bucky didn’t have a choice in the matter, Tony knows that, but he violently tries to hold him responsible in the same way he mentally holds himself. “Do you even remember them” he lashes out at Bucky, sure that the person involved in causing the determining factor in his life can’t understand the magnitude of what he’s done. Can’t understand the weight of feeling responsible for some many lives. He unwittingly echoes the woman who cornered him in the elevator earlier in the movie. He’s suddenly in her place reacting the exact same way.

“I remember them all.”

That line, right there. If Tony had been able to pause in his rage and grief for a second he would have realized that out of ANYONE he’s come across, Bucky gets it the best. Tony lives with all the ghosts of what he’s caused. So does Bucky. Bucky voices what Tony can’t. No matter what people tell you, you are still going to feel guilty that you did something no matter the reason and every incident can still be fresh and painful and seared on your memory whether it really deserves to be there or not. Maybe you had false information, maybe you didn’t have control, but it still happened. You still did it. You’re still going to have to live with it. And if you don’t forgive yourself to some degree you’re not really going to function. You can see Bucky trying to figure out how to live with himself. He can at least voice that he’s not sure he’s worth it, voice his uncertainty. You see him cringing at the scythe of destruction he is (ie. “what did I do”). You see him figuring out how to live with guilt without needing to punish himself.

Tony says the problem without really saying it. “And then, and then, and then”. The cycle over and over and over. He pushes people away because of it. He tortures himself because of it. And it will eat him alive until he is able to step forward.

*Throughout all of the films we witness three different methods of dealing with trauma, Steve’s way, Bucky’s, and Tony’s. Of the three, Steve and Bucky deal with their trauma in a more healthy manner. Steve’s method is to confront what he’s done head on, process it, and deal with the emotions from it. Bucky’s method is to mentally and physically withdraw. After he gets his mind back, his first impulse is  to retire from the field of play. After the main plot is over, his instinct is to, once again, completely withdraw. Not hunt down Hydra or get revenge. And Tony chooses to not deal with it at all, to shove it aside.

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*This entire meta is an echo of the post I wrote about Tony’s motivations earlier. (https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/on-the-right-captain-america-and-iron-man/)

Tony was definitely a villain in the comic books, during Civil War, and frankly, he didn’t come across looking too good in this movie, either.

jbananabarnes

I got words.

See that curb party Steve and Bucky were giving Tony at the end of the trailer actually made me feel really bad for him, and that’s interesting. Because while there is something pitiable about Tony in the MCU, the Tony I’m familiar with from the comics, is not. And certainly not during Civil War. In the comics Tony was objectively wrong during Civil War. His methods of getting what he wanted during that run were unforgivable.

But the Tony we’ve been working with in the MCU is decidedly less in love with himself. His egotism is largely for show, because we’ve seen him have panic attacks and display acts of poor self care. But the line about also being Steve’s friend seemed really out of place to me. Because they have never really been friendly. They’ve been civil and work on the same superhero team but for Age of Ultron’s part it was them fighting with each each other over how to handle their problem. So I can’t help but think a lot of this comes from if its because of Tony’s genuine lack of self confidence says he puts a lot of stock into what Steve thinks of him. The MCU has made Tony into someone whowants to do good, but doesn’t actually have the tools to enact that good or have a real understanding of what good is in the real world with it’s moral complexities. It’s not that his intentions aren’t genuine, but this kind of altruism isn’t in his nature. He understands the world in a very binary way. Something is good, or it’s bad. A lack of awareness of grey areas makes it difficult for him to make the best judgement when put in a “hero” position. When he does good there is a lotof collateral damage. And maybe he needs Steve, this kind of universally accepted pillar of good, to agree that what he does and his actions are good so he can justify himself to himself. Because Tony’s solutions to difficult problems, historically, have been “kill myself’ which doesn’t indicate that he’s got a whole lot of self worth, or someone who thinks the only means of being heroic is through a self sacrificing Hail Mary. In all of the Iron Man films and both Avengers films, I’ve never felt as though being a hero was something Tony felt comfortable falling into, there’s always been a certain uncertainty.

But, in turn, I don’t think Steve’s ever thought highly of Tony, I think he’s been surprised by Tony but goes into most interactions with him ready to be annoyed or disappointed. And Tony’s never had like, real friends. Rhodey (and arguably Pepper, and even Bruce being a friend of circumstance) being a singular exception. And now he’s got this Avengers crew who’s actually got his back, it probably never occurred to him that Steve’s got baggage too. He probably doesn’t see Steve as a real person, but as this mythological figure because he grew up while Steve was solidly frozen. Steve’s always been propaganda to him, something his father – who he grew up resentful of – spoke highly of. Steve’s probably never been a real person to him. He’s never treated him like one. I can imagine Tony would hugely misinterpret “tolerance” for “friendship” especially from someone he hasn’t bothered to actually know as a human being.

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radialarch

so i’ve seen quite a bit of doylist discussion about the steve-tony relationship and how marvel is trying to use a long comics history as shorthand in the mcu, but i keep thinking about it from a watsonian point of view. and here’s the thing: tony stark is not very good at friends.

tony is self-centered, antagonistic, and sarcastically belligerent on the best of days (and i say this with great affection); he is not an easy person to be friends with. tony knows this. and tony has, i think, decided very early on that he doesn’t care to sand down his rough edges for the sake of friends. it’s very possible that his first friend in the world was edwin jarvis – and that says a lot, that the people tony grows close to are, by and large, in some ways obligated not to leave him.

because that’s what tony does to people: he is intensely tony at them until they leave. and if they don’t, then maybe – maybe that means they love him. this is the tony stark model of friendship. it’s not a very healthy model, granted, but no one’s ever accused tony stark of being well-adjusted.

and then there’s steve.

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nthnystrk

some civil war (mostly tony) thoughts

ok so i’ve just come out of my fifth viewing of civil war and clearly i have many Feelings about the movie, but i have many Words about tony stark in this movie, so help me god.

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*And now some Bucky meta. For some 7o + years Bucky has had everyone inside his head but himself. Finally he’s free of outside influences, and his first instinct is to withdraw from the world and live off the grid. He just wants to be left the hell alone, and in relative peace. Contrast that with Steve’s method of coping with what’s happened to him, which is keep fighting, until he finds a reason to live.

twinagonies

and now BUCKY

god bucky is so sad in this film. but i wanna get to how we get to that first credits scene, and why i love it even though it hurts like a motherfucker.

so what’s he been doing since we last saw him in a museum? living in the saddest apartment in bucharest, eating plums, trying not to murder anybody. literally the saddest possible goal.

beyond the exchange of a dispassionate bucky saying “yeah, that’s a good strategy for taking me in,” the most telling moment for me is when steve assures him, “this wasn’t your fault, you had no choice.”

and he says, “but I still did it.”

bucky is not steve–he doesn’t hold choice and agency and decision as the paramount ideal of freedom. i’m not sure that bucky feels guilt, or anything like it. he feels fear and resignation. it’s that moment when zemo starts the lists of trigger words, and he knows what’s happening, and he rips apart his cell trying to stop it from happening. all he wants is to be left alone. and maybe, to forget.

“i still did it,” to me, is the revelation of the horror he’s lived through, and the horror that continues to be his life. he wants it to stop. his worst nightmare comes true: he’s found, he’s unmade, he’s forced to be the killer he tries desperately not to be, and he’s left with the pieces.

for a film that’s all about choice and consequence, about responsibility and accountability, bucky stands as the character who serves as the consequence of other people’s culpability. in many ways, he’s tony’s opposite: he bears guilt for things he never chose to do, while tony pushes the guilt for his myriad sins onto everyone around him, never taking responsibility for the havoc he creates.

and the guilt and horror is too much. bucky argues at the end, as he’s going back into cryofreeze, that this is so he won’t be used as a weapon. I think this is true, but also there’s the hidden motivation: that bucky doesn’t really want to BE anymore. he wants to turn off his consciousness and fall asleep and never wake up until the danger isn’t there anymore.

because you have to think of bucky in romania, waking up in that sad apartment, and thinking, “is this it? is this the day they find me?”

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*This person perfectly lays out why I am and remain Team Cap. Its not because I dislike Tony but because Team Tony had some serous flaws in their reasoning and actions.

narniangirl1994

Powerful Moments in Civil War

After seeing Civil War, I’d like to discuss what I believe were some of the most powerful and pivotal moments in the movie. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet:

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*Of note in this particular post, is a reference to what Sam must have been feeling, watching WarMachine fall out of the sky, and being unable to stop it.

  • Poor  Sam, having to deal with seeing another   teammate fall out of the sky that he couldn’t save. The fact that he then    asked about Rhodey, even when imprisoned by Tony’s side of the fight. And     the way Tony (unfairly) blasted him for what happened to Rhodey, even     though it wasn’t Sam’s fault

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trashmouse

Civil War Thoughts: On Steve

So, it’s been taking me a while to get my last thoughts out, and I might do a few more smaller ones before I get to my Steve/Bucky thoughts, but in the meantime, here are my broader thoughts on Steve and his role in Civil War.  Obviously, this will be chock full of spoilers.

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kristhelkat

Crossbones, Steve and the“Your Bucky” scene

So, after watching the scene between Crossbones and Steve for the second time, I’ve been thinking about what he said to taunt Steve during their fight. And I thought of something really upsetting, and I don’t want to suffer by myself so I’m telling you right now.

Some spoilers below the cut. All right? Here we go.

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your-pal-your-buddy-your-bucky
Is it too early to start talking about mid credit Bucky and what it all means? Because, honestly, some people seem to be uncertain about his future, but I don’t think there’s any need to be.Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier is all chrome and black leather, a range of colours associated with weaponry, the bad guys. Not white. Never white. That is, until the scene where we leave him. SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THE SYMBOLISM OF THIS OUTFIT HERE.White trousers, white shirt, someone remarked he’s got bare feet in the opening scene, if the camera had panned back a little on the end scene, I’m fairly certain he’d be barefoot here as well.. He’s in ALL WHITE, the colour of innocence and purity and in western religious circles a colour symbolising the washing away of one’s sins. Renewal. I don’t know what’s going on behind him, but it’s giving off a golden glow, I swear they couldn’t have made him look more like an ACTUAL SAINT if they tried. You think this is the end for him? White is for new beginnings, not endings. Watch this scene again, the white, the gold, the serene smile. This scene is the baptism of Bucky Barnes. The boy is getting REBORN.

Is all this deliberate? I think it is, consider the juxtaposition they’ve given us in the opening and closing scenes of this film. The beginning, pre title scene of a man, Bucky Barnes being awoken from the ice, dressed in black, cloaked in darkness. Not yet the soldier, just the man, being dragged into a place of darkness and screaming agony and forcibly turned into the Winter Soldier, against his will. The ending, the man who was the Winter Soldier, dressed in white, bathed in light. Not being dragged, but choosing to go back into that ice to become Bucky Barnes again. The scenes mirror each other in every way, not just in the motions, but the lighting, the costuming, the tone; darkness and light, black and white, piercing screams and hushed, peaceful tones, coercion and free will. I know it’s just a silly superhero movie, but this is beautiful stuff right here.

Look, okay, I see Bucky as the heart of this movie, Bucky’s my fave, so maybe I’m biased, but I can only see a new beginning here. But you know what, even if this WERE the end of his story, I’d be happy with this. I couldn’t have asked for a more respectful treatment of my baby. And I think he’s going to be just fine.

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http://giveusalol.tumblr.com/post/143535916488/gender-subversion-in-cacw
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*More about Steve’s trauma, keeping in mind that afte Peggy’s death, the only preson left alive who rmembers the original Steve Rogers, is Bucky.
steverogersorbust

you know. sometimes i think. in the face of tony’s obvious trauma and ptsd. in the face of the more obvious pain that bucky has suffered. we forget that steve’s motivation in the film isn’t just his tendency to hold stubbornly fast to his ideals, to do what he feels is right and damn the rest.

steve’s hurting too.

like. guys. we are so ready to give weight to tony’s emotional boiling over point at the end of the film, to say “this is why he tried to kill bucky, and it’s not right but it’s understandable.” we are so ready to acknowledge the fact that bucky was a victim and motivated to run by his fear of further persecution and hurt from nefarious forces. what about steve, though? when do we acknowledge that steve’s not just acting with righteous arrogance, but a deep anger, isolation, fear, loneliness, sadness, and hope?

steve died. like, his last memory before waking up seventy years in the future is a few days after watching his best friend fall from a train and he was unable to stop it he willingly flies a plane into the fucking Arctic, ostensibly to his death.

guys. guys. tony was fucked up for years because of untreated ptsd after falling from space and thinking he was dead. why is it so hard to remember that steve probably is fucked up, too?

this dude, he wakes up seventy years in the future and he has to make his way without really anyone or anything familiar, and the only person who is familiar is suffering from memory loss, and he’s now operating under the thumb of shadowy organization that he’s not 100 percent does good things and that continuously lies to him. there’s no war to fight, but that’s all this body is good for. it’s all he knows.

he doesn’t know what makes him happy. guys.

and so he goes through another trauma when he discovers this villain who is trying to kill him is in fact the dead best friend who—surprise!—was actually captured after falling and losing an arm andhis brains were scrambled to turn him into a murder assassin. we know for a fact steve feels tremendous guilt over this. but imagine beyond guilt, the sorrow, the nightmarish possibilities, that are turning over in steve’s head. the idea of what his friend suffered. remember when rhodey fell from the sky and tony blasted sam in the chest? imagine the anger in steve’s heart at the idea of what bucky’s suffered and the unwillingness to let that go unchecked and unsaved.

oh, plus. that shadowy organization he’s been fighting for? the people he’s been taking orders from? the top dog in the neat little hierarchy that’s arranged his world? yeah. hydra. everything steve has known turns upside down. he can’t trust anything. imagine the paranoia. the suspicion. imagine the fear that must take seed at that betrayal.

and then! of course, then he begins fighting these battles with the avengers where the collateral damage is on such a bigger scale than it was at war. where there are aliens. aliens, you guys. and he’s tasked with leading this motley crew of superheroes in a world he’s still getting used to and people die, lots of people die, and we know that even if it doesnt visibly affect him like it affects tony (who always seems shocked when he’s confronted with loss, because it’s presented to him on a personal, individual level) it does affect him. that steve feels the guilt of lives lost. imagine that burden. imagine the weight of the shield, the mask, the responsibility. imagine the loneliness. thefear.

so then. then. in the space of a few days. steve deals with more guilt from the deaths in lagos. he shoulders that burden. then he deals with the moral quandary of signing the accords. he wrestles with that decision. peggy dies. he grieves, oh goodness does he grieve. vienna fuckin blows up andthat elusive best friend is now the suspect. so steve is grieving, he is confused and conflicted, and now he feels doubly guilty—that’s the person he has been looking for, should he have already caught him? did he do it? he couldn’t have. does he bring him in? does he shoulder this responsibility too? what will they make him do when he catches up to bucky? what should he do? steve might act like he always knows what’s right, but a decision like this isn’t easy. it messes with a person. and when you’re dealing with all that mess in your head, sometimes you don’t think. sometimes…you act.

like when bucky is triggered, when steve stops a helicopter with his bare fucking hands, you can feel the desperation. that’s not ordinary heroics. that’s not steve just trying to stop bucky from escaping and possibly hurting others. it’s steve fighting for bucky. for this piece of his past. for the possibility of an end to loneliness. for the possibility of redemption for letting him fall.

and when they go on the run, when they know they have to stop the supersoldiers, when they clash with tony’s team, can you imagine steve’s sheer frustration that no one gets what is at stake? that no one is willing to listen? and yes, he didn’t even try—but why is that, you think? is it possibly because steve is used to institutions and those in power ignoring what he thinks is right and causing disaster anyway?

when steve says, “pal, so are we.” when steve acknowledges to natasha that he’s 90 not dead, when he openly references the fact that he and bucky are 100, can you imagine knowing that? adjusting to that? being 20-something in body and memory but 100 in actuality? living in a body that people perceive as a weapon so strongly that you’ve become a weapon when you are still longing to rediscover the man you were? steve’s not just cap. steve’s steve, and he doesn’t know what makes him happy you guys. he’s a guy, he’s a human, and he’s dealing with A Lot.

i get that he makes some bad calls in the movie. so does tony. my beef is that while tony’s decisions are often supported by his very obvious trauma and emotional burden, we rarely seem to give enough weight to the very real and very similar turmoil that is going on inside of steve.

when tony is fighting him in siberia. when steve says, “he’s my friend,” so simply, so sadly, without any righteousness, just clean tired truth, that’s steve as steve. when he hid the truth from tony, that’s steve as steve. when he drops the shield, that’s steve reclaiming himself as steve. we expect cap all the time, because often, steve is cap. it’s easy to see him as the moral police that way, if reductionist.

but we forget to see steve as steve. that he is a kid, in some ways. and a grieving, lost, lonely kid with a lot of anger, sadness, confusion, and power boiling under the placid-seeming surface.

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scififreak35

Steve and the Sokovia Accords

I keep seeing a lot of posts about how Steve was in the wrong in CACW because while Tony had a plan, Steve didn’t offer any alternative to it, he was just like NOPE. The thing is though, something that immediately struck me when I watched the movie was the timing of everything. Ross and Tony bring Steve and the others the Accords THREE DAYS before they are to be signed. Those Accords were not drafted, approved and supported by 117 countries in a week. This was 100% intentional. This is also very, very common in American politics. When politicians want to pass a bill they don’t want people to look at closely, they schedule votes at weird times or when a large # of people are away from the Hill (Capital Hill). So you get these 11th hour bills that are hundreds of pages long that no one has had a chance to read, ask questions about, or negotiate on about changes. These bills are stuffed with completely unrelated stuff that gets passed as well because the whole thing has to be signed off on/approved. It’s called “pork barreling.” Those are the questions Steve tries to bring up to the group. When he’s like ‘what happens when…?’ And Tony brushes aside his concerns like ‘oh, I’m sure we’ll get to make changes later when everything dies down.’ But Steve is like what are we agreeing to NOW though? And practically as soon as they are given the “generous” 3 day warning, Peggy dies. Steve flies off to London and everything goes to hell. What time is there to propose or discuss an alternative plan??

The timing was 100% intentional to make sure the Avengers would be subject to the Accords as written–no matter what was lurking on the bottom of page 440 in fine print. Steve is 100% right to be suspicious. This is one of the dirty tricks of American politics that Steve would be totally aware of. And sure, maybe there’s a chance that everything was above board, reasonable, and so on, but you would NEVER sign a thing like that w/o actually checking/reading it. that would be foolish. I mean, did we forget that Project Insight was authorized and approved by The World Council? I guarantee you that Steve hasn’t. I absolutely believe that Steve would have been willing to talk everything out, negotiate, listen to everyone’s pov, and really consider everything carefully…but there’s no time given to do that. It’s all last minute, non-negotiable, and shady. Steve is a master tactician, natural leader, and a reasonable, thoughtful person who is a Big Picture thinker. It’s weird that people just assume he rejects the Accords because he’s being childish or something. That’s not Steve Rogers at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Headcanons on Tumblr

This is mostly people just making up their own stories and head canons on Tumblr. For me, this is one of the most fun things on there. Just like the last one I posted where people basically re-invented American magical systems, by extrapolating from JK Rowling’s misconceptions of American culture. (I’m going to revisit that again because I just love the idea of different magical systems being influenced by  cultural, environmental, and    geographical constraints.)

Plus, there’s some meta in here about LOTR and some critical essay type stuff, like this insistence (from men, btw) that women’s armor have titties, or flowers, or something on it to designate that a woman is in it. Why? Exactly what purpose is served by decorating the armor that way?

mathylibrarian:

bestnatesmithever:

kiokushitaka:

adrastuscomic:

iwoofjaneway:

“ It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”

If I ever don’t reblog this, it’s because I’m dead.

game devs take note

What a weird impulse. Why would you need it to look feminine? Or masculine? It’s armor to protect your body from death. Not dying should be gender neutral.

Not dying should be gender neutral

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Anonymous asked:

Can you tell me why Frodo is so important in lotr? Why can’t someone else, anyone else, carry the ring to mordor?

notbecauseofvictories answered:

but someone else could.

that’s the whole point of frodo—there is nothing special about him, he’s a hobbit, he’s short and likes stories, smokes pipeweed and makes mischief, he’s a young man like other young men, except for the singularly important fact that he is the one who volunteers. there is this terrible thing that must be done, the magnitude of which no one fully understands and can never understand before it is done, but frodo says me and frodo says I will.

(when boromir is thinking of how he can use the ring to defend gondor, when aragorn is thinking of how it brought down proud isildur, when elrond is holding council and gandalf is thinking of how twisted he would become, if he ever dared—)

but then there’s frodo, who desires nothing except what he has already left behind him, and says, I will take the Ring.

it is an offer made out of absolute innocence, utter sincerity. It is made without knowing what it will make of him—and frodo loses everything to the ring, he loses peace and himself and the shire, he loses the ability to be in the world. It’s cruel, the ring is cruel, it searches out every weakness you have and feeds on it, drinks you dry and fills you with its poison instead, the ring is so cruel.

and frodo picks it up willingly. for no other reason except that it has to be done.

(the ring warps boromir into a hopeless grasping dead thing, the power of the palantir turns denethor into an old man, jealous and suspicious, it bends even saruman, once the proudest of the istari, into a mechanised warlord, sitting in his fortress and bent over his perverse creations—all the best of intentions, laid waste)

but there’s a reason gollum exists in the narrative, which is to show—well, to show what frodo might have been. because even as frodo grows mistrustful and wearied, as the burden of this ring grows heavier and heavier, he is never gollum. he is gentle to gollum. he is afraid—god frodo is so afraid for 2/3 of these books he is so tired and afraid, but he keeps moving, he walks though it would pull him into the ground, because he asked for this, he said he would.

someone else could have carried the ring to mordor, I suppose. the idea of a martyr is not dependent on the particular flesh and blood person dying for some greater purpose. but such a thing has to be chosen, lifted onto your shoulders for the right reason, the truest reasons, and followed into the dark, though it would see you burnt through and bled out.

I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.

Source: notbecauseofvictories

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More critiques of fandom racism, or as Stitchmedia likes to call it “Klandom.”

stitchmediamix

We’re never believed when we talk about racism in fandom and people are just so eager to silence us.

I’m on the “fandom racism” tag on tumblr because I occasionally do like to find new people to block when I see this blogger talking about the white women in fandom doing shipping olympics to justify not shipping Spider-Man with Zendaya!MJ.

Their next post in the tag comes from some anon fussing at them, accusing them of generalizing and blaming a “vocal minority” in the same anonymous message. (”hardly any white girls probably even care about spider-man” the anon said as if a majority of transformative fandom isn’t made up of white women and therefore, the spider-man fandom has a ton of white women in it)

Nevermind that people have been shitting on Zendaya since the second that the news dropped (and btw, it’s still not official news from Sony/Marvel).

Nevermind that the Thor fandom is now pretending that it cares about Jane Foster in order to excuse misogynoiristic complaints about Tessa Thompson playing Valkyrie and possibly playing Thor’s love interest.

Nevermind that every time a Black woman is cast as a white character, white men derride her appearance and white women dismiss her character and act as if she’s unworthy of being in a relationship with the white fave she’s undoubtedly cast opposite.

Nevermind that already I’ve seen female members of fandom talking about how “it’d be nice to have a Spider-Man movie where Mary Jane doesn’t have a love interest” (like Homecoming already doesn’t have that!!).

When we (fans of color and anti-racist allies) talk about the racist abuse we see directed towards, fans, actors, and racebent characters of color, the first thing we see is their outstretched hands demanding “proof” and acting like making up racism is like a thing people actually do.

It pisses me off so hard because right now, we’re getting it from two sides: members of “mainstream” fandom constantly crapping all over Black women as if it’s their job and (largely female) members of transformative fandom who’ve learned to couch their racism and hatred of women of color in social justice rhetoric so it looks like they’re fighting for us, not against us.

And even though you can look at Twitter, in tumblr tags, and google this shit, people are still like “I don’t see why you’re complaining, it’s not a big deal”.

Our anger is reactionary. We are reacting to endless racism aiimed towards fans, characters, and creators of color. If you sincerely believe that the right thing to do when faced with this reality is to demand proof and get mad when it’s given?

You can fuck right off.

text posts fandom ugh UGHUGH long post
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*Why Candice Patton is a total bad-ass!
finnnorgana pocketlass

attoseconds:

westallendiaries:

attoseconds:

Candice Patton as Iris West helped play a massive part in Kiersey and Zendaya being allowed to portray superhero love interests, and opened doors that would have been closed to them three years ago, when they wouldn’t have even been considered an OPTION.

Candice Patton as Iris West helped show execs that a WOC as a romantic lead is a smart decision. From their standpoint, it’s likely financial, but little black girls are going to be allowed to see themselves as the girl the hero loves, wants to be with, and get to see themselves being Important to the story.

One day, saltyass haters will realize that’s why Candice Patton as Iris West is needed, because she’s making a *difference* and one simple casting decision is shaking 50+ years of history for the better.

“Playing this role, I sometimes get blatant racism and the even more painful and complicated non-blatant racism. But, I gladly put on my armour each day and take it. I have to be strong and continue to deliver, because this is bigger than me. It’s not just about this role, its about the landscape of film and TV. It’s about the young girls coming after me. I need to make sure I was strong enough to keep that door open for them.” – Candice Patton

She’s honestly such an amazing human being and I love/respect/adore her SO MUCH.   Source: attoseconds

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*More explanations on the Zendaya freak-outs:

Zendaya as Mary Jane

brownstocking:

racebending:

jrashad51:

This can be taken multiple ways to me.

1. If everyone gets mad when people of color are played by white people, why can’t white people be angry when it’s done to them?

2. White people have taken roles from people of color for so long, it’s only right if we do the same to them.

3. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Zendaya went through the same audition process as everyone else and she just happened to be the best one for the job.

I’m more in tuned with number 3.

1)  They can be angry, and they are.  Frequently when a role is racebent like the role of Mary Jane has been rumored to be, many white fans will express anger around it.  They are more than entitled to express their opinion about the media product and they know it.   Nothing stopped angry white people upset about racebent Johnny Storm from giving Michael B. Jordan crap about being cast in the role, for example.   The anger does make folks who do that look ignorant; however, because they have access to representation that the PoC they are complaining about lack.   White fans who are upset about a mixed race black actress playing MJ have access to representation through the main character and much of the supporting cast, representation through the writer, director, producers of the movie (and the white execs of Marvel Studios), and representation through countless other superhero movies–including three Spider-man movies with a white MJ.  Girls of color who consume superhero movies simply do not experience the same.    They can be angry, but it looks petty.

2)  What is happening here is not “the same.”   PoC being cast in racebent roles for supporting white characters (and having to receive racist flak for it) is not the same as white actors using raceface or whitewashing to score lead roles.

3)  We don’t really know what process resulted in Zendaya being cast, but her casting as a love interest for Peter Parker does matter because it makes a major social statement, and it is a form of media representation.

werd.

Also can we stop acting like Mary Jane has to be white? Not only is she a fictional character, but her only defining characteristics are red hair, lives in NY, grew up with Peter. That’s it. Despite the hype white people don’t have a lock on red hair. And Zendaya is the first Mary Jane cast for live action who does have that flirty personality that everyone associates with Mary Jane Watson.

Source: jrashad51

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*Along with Black Women in  movies Tropes:

stitchmediamix karnythia

Trope

abbiehollowdays:

Giving a black male character a black female love interest (the earlier in the series, the better), but either:

A. Only show her in flashbacks because she’s dead
B. Kill her off within a few episodes
C. Write her as being an irredeemable bitch who the BM character has already divorced/broken up with or will divorce/break up with soon.
D. Have her choose her career over the relationship.

That way writers have “proved” that he doesn’t hate black women (or hates one “with cause”). Then he’s free to experiment or fall in love with female characters of other races (especially white) and they never have to show him with a black female love interest again for the rest of the series.

Source: abbiehollowdays racism antiblackness misogynoir

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*I am absolutely loving this Arthurian explanation for why Finn is a Jedi. Finn is The Awakening that the movie talks about. There’s a lot of fandom that likes to villainize him and/or erase his presence, but they can’t erase the fact that this movie’s title is in reference to Finn, as much as it is to Rey. 

In my mind, the reason he loses his battle to Kylo is because it’s his first real lightsabers fight, and he was never trained to use that weapon. It’s the first time he’s ever seen, or held, a lightsaber. He doesn’t know the rules. He’s never had a Yoda, or been anybody’s Padawan.  He becomes uncertain about his intentions and focus, (he gets scared), and  is finding it increasingly difficult to keep his connection to the Force, (if he even knows what that feels like), that purity of purpose that made him accept the lightsaber in the first place. It’s as if, right in the middle of this fight, he experiences the terrifying magnitude of what he’s doing. (Omg! This the leader of The First Order! What the hell am I doing?!!)

One of the rules of using the Force is purity of purpose. Without that, it’s easy to fall to the Darkside, or lose one’s connection to it, and just as Yoda said, emotions cloud intentions. This is probably something that happens a lot  to  students of the Force, and I’ll wager that Finn probably doesn’t even know what that is, although, like Rey, he’s heard of it.

jawnbaeyega adagalore

luminousfinn:

Maz giving Finn the lightsaber is noticeable for many reasons, not least of which because it happens twice and for all the Arthurian parallels surrounding the scenes.

 

The first time takes place just after the destruction of the Hosnia system which is what makes Finn return to Han (and implicitly to the fight against the Dark Side). At this point none of them knows that they’re about to be attacked themselves by the First Order, not even Maz.

Despite this she immediately upon Finn’s return  takes him, Han and Chewie into the cellar where she keeps the lightsaber. When she takes it out of the chest Han recognizes it and asks where she got it, she brushes him off and focuses on Finn.

Why Finn? Last she saw him Finn made it clear that he was leaving. Hosnia’s destruction marked a tentative return, but so far it is tentative. And wouldn’t Han a man who might not be a paragon, but someone she’s know for years, make more sense?

Her words as she passes it are ambiguous. “Take it. Find your friend.” And do what exactly? Give it to her? Use it to protect her? What? Recall, no one but Maz and Rey herself knows that Rey can use the Force at this point. In fact Finn is never told this in TFA.

In assorted other things the fact that Han’s attention shifts off Maz and onto Finn the moment she tells him to take it, but before she stops talking is interesting. His intent gaze on Finn as he makes the choice to take the weapon is mirrored in the second “giving” by Maz.

Maz too is looking rather expectantly as Finn reaches out and takes the lightsaber from her. The music that has so far been playing softly in the background swells dramatically the moment Finn’s hand touches the saber and mixes with the diegetic sound of an approaching TIE fighter as Finn raises the lightsaber as a young Arthur might Excalibur. The scene ends in a dramatic boom as the castle is struck just as we see Finn look at the saber with a serious face.

It is noticeable that Finn is so entranced by the lightsaber that he doesn’t seem to hear the incoming TIE. Not long before at Niima Outpost he jumped at the first sound of it, but here he’s oblivious to the noise.

Now before I go on to the second “giving” I’m going to make a small detour around Arthurian myth.

Much have been made of the Arthurian parallels in TFA. Kylo Ren as a Mordred like figure. Luke as either a Merlin or a fallen Arthur himself and of course Rey pulling the Skywalker lightsaber out of the metaphorical stone. But the Arthurian parallels have been ignored where Finn is concerned, especially when it comes to the giving of the lightsaber/Excalibur, because in Arthurian myths there are two kinds of givings of that sword. One is Arthur pulling it out of the stone which declares himself the true king of Britain, in the other it is given to him by The Lady of the Lake.

In both versions Arthur starts out as a youth of unknown parentage grown up fostered by strangers, just as Finn is. In the second versions Arthur runs into Merlin, often portrayed as an older, wiser man. Depending on the version Arthur either asks Merlin for help or about his future, in either case Merlin takes him to The Lady of the Lake.

The Lady depending on the version of the tale is either a powerful magical being or a High Priestess of Avalon. She proceeds to ask the young Arthur several question and put him through a test which he fails, but she sees that though he is not perfect he has a good heart and a true spirit. Realizing this she bequeath him Excalibur, the sword of the true king and the mark of a hero.

Maz is in a quite literal sense The Lady of the Lake. She a powerful alien, strong in the Force who has made her home on a lake.

Her initial interactions with Finn runs parallel with The Lady’s testing of Arthur, complete with Finn “failing the test” by choosing to leave. But in deciding to return to the fight Finn proves to The Lady of the Lake that he’s heart and spirit is true and so she gives him Excalibur (the Skywalker lightsaber) to wield.

 

That she means for him to wield it and not just as a caretaker becomes clear in the second “giving”.

When they exit the now ruined castle the dark forces are upon them and battle is joined. Maz once more tells Finn to go find his friends.

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

At first we see doubt on Finn’s face, it’s an unfamiliar weapon and a Jedi’s weapon to boot. How can he wield this? But Maz believes he can and Finn is nothing if not up for whatever challenge life throws at him so he ignites it. The blade flashes to life in his hand, accepting him as a worthy wielder, and the moment it does Finn’s decision is also made. He may not be a Jedi (yet), but the sword is his.

 

tl;dr. There is a lot of Arthurian coding around Han (Merlin) bringing Finn (a young Arthur) to Maz (The Lady of the Lake), Maz testing him and in finding that he has a good and pure heart gives him the Skywalker lightsaber (Excalibur). The sword allowing itself to be ignited (drawn from the sheath) confirms Finn’s worthiness as its wielder.

Source: luminousfinn LISTEN THIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OK finn facts finn meta finn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi ok choke on THAT

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*This would make an excellent alternative to those War of the Worlds movies! Yeah, pretty much most of the wildlife of Australia is dangerous, from various sized birds, to insects, and forms of sea-life, like jellyfish, octopi, and stonefish. This explains why  Aussies are the way they are, I guess.

cumaeansibyl:

swaff-original:

ladyshinga:

beautytruthandstrangeness:

ellidfics:

tygermama:

myurbandream:

jabberwockypie:

skeletonmug:

artiestroke:

splintercellconviction:

giraffepoliceforce:

I really want a science fiction story where aliens come to invade earth and effortlessly wipe out humanity, only to be fought off by the wildlife.

They were expecting military resistance. They weren’t counting on bears.

Imagine coming to a hostile alien world and being attacked by a horde of creatures that can weigh up to 3 tons, run at 30 km/h (19 mph), and bite with a force of 8,100 newtons (1,800 lbf).

By the time you realise that they can traverse water, it’s too late. The surviving members of your unit manage to make it back by shedding their excess gear and running for their lives; the slower ones were crushed to death within minutes.

You later describe the creature to one of the humans you captured, wanting to know the name of the monstrosity that will haunt your nightmares for cycles to come.

The human smiles as it speaks a single word, slowly and distinctly, in its barbaric tongue.

Hippopotamus.”

This is giving me the biggest, creepiest grin I might have ever grinned

Imagine being the next crew to go down to earth and thinking “it’s fine, we got this. We have the weapons and equipment necessary to deal with bears and *shudders* hippopotamuses. We’ll be fine.”

And at first you are, you’ve learned how to dodge. You’ve learned where their territories are. You know how to defend yourself.

But then one night you are sleeping in your shelter. You’re in a tree covered temperate part of earth. It seems benign. There are been no sightings of the dreaded “hippos” around. Not even any bears. But there is a slight rustle of the undergrowth. You try and ignore it telling yourself it is just the wind.

Then you hear the rustle again. closer this time.

You peer out into the darkness but see nothing amongst the trees.

The rustle again and now you realise you can smell something. It’s musky and slightly foul. It’s the smell of an omen, a warning. But what of? Where is this smell coming from.

You sit up, but it’s too late. The foul smelling creature is on you. You are hit with 17kg of coarse fur and vicious bites. Long dark claws tear in to you and you are pinned down white the striped creature tries to bite your throat.

It takes some doing but you manage to wrestle free. Blood drips from your wounds and already they itch with the sign of infection. The creature has a bloodied snout, rust rad, mingling with the black and white hairs. It lets out a terrifying growl from the back of its throat and looks to attack again. It’s between you and your knife, so your only choice is to back away.

Eventually the creature gives up and snuffles off in to the undergrowth, down a hole near your shelter you hadn’t noticed before.

When you make it back to your base you once again consult the captive human.

“Badger.” they say, with a solemn nod.

One word: Moose

“Our vehicles are far superior to the local human models, in range, speed, armament, and any other metric you care to name! Nothing could possibly-”

BAMrumblerumblethumpcrash!!!

“That’s called a moose.”

“We should be free of the threat of the ‘moose’ here on our new floating accommodation”

*humans start sniggering*

“… they can swim, can’t they”

*humans start laughing louder*

….

*mid-winter*

‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! K’T’SURKIK WENT OUTSIDE AND A MOUND OF SNOW ROSE UP AND ATE HIM’

“What is this ‘wolverine’ you speak of?”

Tell me the story of the unpleasantly surprised alien invaders and their captive human remnant, getting more smug the more the aliens fail at basic scouting…

I know we’re all talking the big smash-‘em-up type animals, but what about the little ones? Are aliens prepared for spiders? Mosquitoes? Fleas? Ticks? Even humans get sick or die from some of those, who knows what the fuck they’d do to an unprepared alien.

Nobody expects the mosquitoes

Turns out skunk spray is fatal to the aliens, whoops

Truthfully aliens would try to attack, land in Florida & get taken out by snakes, gators…you name it. Or they would land in Australia & the whole continent would attack. Imagine being the alien that doesn’t take a kangaroo seriously and gets beat the fuck up. Or the one that tries to approach an ostrich and gets kicked to death? They landed once, maybe twice & then they decided we breathe death & are surrounded by monsters.

Source: giraffepoliceforce
*I love this particular headcanon.
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*Who goes to a party to watch the TV show House Hunters? That’s just so many levels of wrong. Is that even considered a party? Can you be still be friends with someone who invites you to one of those?

karnythia antimana

went to a househunters-watching party over the weekend; here’s my impression of the show

thewinterotter:

idiopathicsmile:

VOICEOVER: She wants a historically accurate thirteenth century castle in the heart of bustling downtown L.A. He has his heart set on living in a small metallic orb that would float over a bottomless gorge, beyond space and time. Can this pair of newlyweds see eye to eye???

WIFE: The location is nice but I don’t know about these staircases…I just had my heart set on an escalator made of sand and artisan brie.

HUSBAND: Well it’s definitely not a small floating metallic orb.

REALTOR: That…would defy several laws of physics.

WIFE (squinting): Do you have anything that is simultaneously larger, cheaper, newer, and more historic?

REALTOR: Um.

WIFE: And I need a big kitchen. I love to cook!

(Cut to footage of the wife in her current kitchen, wearing an apron and surrounded by pots and pans. She is hitting a banana with a hammer. On the counter next to her is a pile of doll hair.)

HUSBAND: Yeah, get her a nice kitchen. Of course, I won’t be spending any time in there, ha ha! (His laugh is loud but his eyes are so empty. They are empty all the way back.)

WIFE: And I need a room for my shoes. That is simply non-negotiable.

HUSBAND: Also, if we can swing it with our budget, I’d love a finished basement where I can really unwind and stew in my toxic masculinity and repressed emotion. And hardwood floors.

WIFE: And hardwood floors.

HUSBAND AND WIFE IN EERIE UNISON: Hardwood. Floors. (somehow it sounds like way more than two voices, more like the collective whisper of an army)

REALTOR: Okay, I will certainly, um. See what I can do? Anyway, this next house, it’s a metallic orb hanging on a sturdy cord near a ravine—

WIFE: Well it’s definitely not a genuine thirteenth century castle—

HUSBAND AND WIFE: (stare at each other in open contempt)

REALTOR: Heyyy so why don’t we take a look inside?

This is the most accurate ever depiction of House Hunters but I’m still stuck on the idea that somebody somewhere thought a PARTY to watch HOUSE HUNTERS was a great idea like why do you hate yourselves.

Source: idiopathicsmile
Okay, I was working on my finalized list of shows to watch and review in the Fall, the next Hannibal review, Naka Choko, and a review of Brooklyn 99. Oh, and BBC is now showing the first season of Into The Badlands, from the beginning.
I just finished watching the finale of The British Baking Show, where I  cried for the winner, too, a young Indian woman named Nadiyah. She was awesome, and I was rooting for her, and I thought she wouldn’t win because there was a White guy in the contest, too. He was nice enough, and quite talented, but I didn’t want him to win, and he made some baking mistakes. But Nair came through, with a cake based on her Indian style wedding. It was gorgeous and I wanted some. She didn’t believe she’d  won either, at first. But it was lovely. Her husband and family were very supportive, and of course they got to eat all her practice work, so…
I like British reality shows better because there’s less bullshit talking, the contestants actually seem to get along ,and there’s less chatter just to hear oneself say something, and fill in space. The contestants just seemed like nice people in a contest, trying really hard. None of them were trying to play to the camera by trash talking their opponents, grandstanding, or letting their egos write checks they couldn’t cash, something I absolutely hate about American reality shows. They also came across as more intelligent but that might just be a British thing, in general.
TTFN!

 

 

Good Things on Tumblr

It seems that the only time I mention anything on Tumblr its almost always some kind of racial takedown or dragging or bad news. Well, this post is going to celebrate all the positive stuff  I’ve seen on Tumblr. Please visit these websites, sign onto Tumblr if you can.

I know it seems like we spend an inordinate amount of time beging Hollywood for representation, and that’s important, but it needs to be known that Hollywood isn’t the only game in town when it comes to diversity. SO here are some online links, if you’re interested. (And its okay, these are safe spaces for you to express yourselves. Some of the other sites I  link to may not be too welcoming.)

 

*I do not watch Once Upon a Time, but when I heard that Mulan was on the show, I was kinda kickin’ myself. (That doesn’t mean I’m going to go back and binge it though.) The costumes are gorgeous.

13 weeks of ouat positivity:
• Week 12: favourite costumes [8/15]

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Monstress # 4 (2016)  //  Image Comics

Story: Marjorie Liu , art: Sana Takeda

[ Follow SuperheroesInColor on facebook / instagram / twitter / tumblr ]

Get it now here@

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*Okay, you know I had to add a little bit of no-goodnik to this post. The Pretty Feminist is a staunch advocate of diversity across the MCU. She is fighting all these battles with clueless fandom, so that I don’t have to.
I think the two worst items on this list is: the treatment of Martha Jones whom I love; and the idea that people are actually  shipping Natasha and T’Challa, without any examination or understanding of  how problematic is the insertion of white characters into the Wakandan narrative. Some people only seem to care about inclusivity when they want to insert white characters into the narratives of PoC. When it happens the opposite way, their championing of diversity seems to disappear.
The struggles of being a black fangirl

Queen Guinevere fans: Spent years defending Gwen from fans who said that a black woman being in a medieval fantasy show was unrealistic, despite the show featuring magic, wizards and dragons.

Martha Jones fans: Dealt with continual racists and sexist attacks from Rose Tyler fans who felt that Martha was trying to replace Rose.

Bonnie Bennett fans: Dealt with years of racist attacks and Delena fans demanding that the writers kill off her character, despite her playing a major role in the books.

Iris West fans: Constantly fighting against people who want Iris to be written out of the show or killed off, despite her being the female lead and the wife and mother of Barry Allen’s children in the comics.

Michonne fans: Constantly defending Michonne from fans who openly refer to her as unattractive and not a proper love interest for Rick Grimes (aka not white)

Abbie Mills fans: Spent the last 3 years fighting for Abbie to stop being sidelined and disrespected by the writers, only for the writers to kill her off and turn her into a sacrificial negro.

Finn fans: Constantly dealing with Reylo fans arguing that Finn is not a proper love interest for Rey, but somehow, a genocidal father-killing maniac, who also made a not-so-veiled rape threat to her, magically is.

T’Challa fans: Currently dealing with Bucky and Natasha fans who are pushing for them to play a major role in the new Black Panther movie. Oh, and let us not forget the Natasha/T’Challa shippers who are actively advocating for Nat to become the new queen of Wakanda. Because having a white Russian assassin who used to work for Hydra being the queen of an African nation isn’t creepy or racist. Nope, not at all.

Source:

Hannibal Season Two : Su-Zakana

 

Parallel:

(1) :  similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development (2) :  exhibitingparallelism in form, function, or development <parallel evolution>b :  readily compared :  companionc :  having identical syntactical elements in corresponding positions; also :  being such an element.

Wow, this one has parallels running all over the place. Somebody better stop them before we get hurt.

Su-Zakana is one of my all time favorite episodes because it stars the weird, and lovely, Jeremy Davies from Saving Private Ryan, Ravenous and Justified. Here, he plays Peter Bernardone, a character who is a close parallel to Will Graham. Bryan Fuller has stated that Bernardone is a stand-in for Giovanni Di Petro Di Bernardone (the Italian) otherwise known as St. Francis, the patron Saint of animals.

In this episode, Will and Jack, while ice fishing, blatantly lay out their  plan to use Will as bait, to get Hannibal to incriminate himself as The Chesapeake Ripper. This is a very delicate game. Will, essentially, has to go undercover and  sidle up to the beast by convincing him that he is just another beast like him, all while not actually becoming the  beast he’s pretending to be.

Will has to look into the abyss and hope he isn’t destroyed by it looking back at him.

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Its interesting watching Will and Jack’s  smooth, and easy camaraderie, after all they’ve been through together. Their venture is not only going to require Will to do some serious acting, but Jack as well. I’m still not sure Jack entirely believes Hannibal is The Ripper, or if he’s just going along with Will’s plan as a means of atonement for believing Will was The Ripper. Has Will convinced him? I know that later Jack is convinced but I’m not certain when this moment occurred.

We next see Jack and Will at Lecter’s house, eating the fish Will caught earlier. Will has cannibal jokes, for which he is rewarded the side-eye from Hannibal and Jack, and Hannibal counters with the term, “Nietzschean Fish”, (words  that can only be dreamed up in the mind of Bryan Fuller). They’re both shameless flirts. Hannibal seems especially jovial. Will is back in therapy with him, Alana is in his bed, Chilton is out of the way, and Jack suspects nothing. Hannibal is in a happy place right now.

The theme of this episode, from the title (su-zakana is  a small dish used to clean/refresh the palate), to the discovery of a murdered woman sewn into the body of a dead horse, is renewal and rebirth. The renewal of Jack’s and Will’s collaboration in capturing the Ripper, and solving serial murders, and  the renewal/rebirth of Will and Hannibal’s therapeutic  relationship. There’s lots of mentions of cocoons and chrysalises.

This episode also introduces the Mason/Margot Verger portion of the Thomas Harris’ book, Hannibal. Margot has been sent to therapy with Hannibal for trying to kill her abusive brother Mason, after he broke her arm during a sexual assault. Hannibal  always wants people to fully and completely experience their darkest self, so encouraging her to wait until a better moment to kill him, or getting someone else to do it for her, would naturally be his advice.

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Note Margo’s high collars, the high broad shoulders of the suit, her severe makeup  and dark clothing. (Its almost samurai in appearance.)  This has the effect of giving  her a prim, hard look, in keeping with her dour facial expressions, subdued manner of speaking and her mental state, after her brother’s violation. Her clothing is like armor.  This is a woman who is utterly drained of emotion, and resigned to her fate with Mason, or she has just gotten so good at hiding what she’s  feeling, that it has become a habit with everyone. (Or she could simply be resentful of having to be in therapy.) Contrast her attitude towards Hannibal, after he advises her she should kill Mason, with before he offers that advice. And contrast her facial expressions in therapy with the expressions she wears when talking to Mason, or Will Graham.

In the book,  Margo Verger is a grotesque stereotype of a transgender man. Actually, in the book she’s not transgender, at all. She wants to be a man because then can she inherit the Verger Fortune. I think Bryan Fuller took offense at this character too, changing her significantly for the show, jettisoning all the insulting stereotypes, and just making her a lesbian, (or bi-sexual. She does sleep with Will later in the season.)

Later that evening, after Hannibal and Alana have sex, Alana expresses bafflement at Will resuming his therapy with Hannibal. She’s concerned that Will has ulterior motives and will try to hurt Hannibal again, (entirely in keeping with Alana’s fiercely protective nature.) Hannibal tells her that Will tried to hurt him because he thought he was protecting Alana from Hannibal, which we know is a load of horse pucky, as Will didn’t know the two of them were sleeping together, at the time he tried to have Hannibal killed.

Jack calls Hannibal to a crime scene involving a murdered woman whose body had been stuffed into a dead horse, and Hannibal says that this is a situation that calls for Will Graham’s expertise. Will’s assessment is that whoever killed Sarah Craber is not the same person who stuffed her into the horse and that his motive  for her was rebirth.

An examination of Sarah Craber, by Jack’s forensic team, releases a bird that was entombed in the woman’s chest. This bird, which looks like a small crow or raven, could signify the release of her soul. Such birds have a mythology of being “psychopomps”, creatures that carry souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead. (Think the movie The Crow.)

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After examining the crime scene, Will and Jack interview Peter Bernardone, a disabled man who works with animals, in a kind of personal mini-zoo. Bernardone is a mirror to Will Graham. Like Will, he also has an unusual brain disorder, that because of a previous brain injury, does not allow him to look at an object and touch it at the same time.  There is also a real world version of this condition called agnosia (the inability to process sensory information),  usually caused by a brain injury. The syndrome gets worse when Peter is under stress. In a sense, he and Will have impaired vision. Unlike Will, he is a genuinely gentle soul that has never actually harmed anyone. (Will has shot one man, and attempted to arrange the death of another.)

Will  starts that whole bonding thing with Peter. Like Hannibal, he really cannot seem to help  stop himself and I suppose he can’t. In the book, Red Dragon, Jack makes an observation about Will’s behavior with other people, how he would mirror their  body language, or adopt their accents or speech patterns. Jack, initially, thought Will was mocking these people, but soon came to realize that Will was entirely unaware of what he was doing and I will assume that’s the case here, as Will  immediately tailors his voice and body language, to adjust to Peter’s condition. He speaks in a warm and compassionate manner, not just because Peter is emotionally fragile, but because  I’m sure he sees himself in Peter, as well. He believes Peter when he says he’s innocent, understanding the importance of affirmation because he didn’t receive any from his “friends”when he declared his own innocence.

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Hannibal’s  mantra to both Margo and Will is, “Doing bad things to bad people makes us feel good.” Will, in his conversations with Hannibal, confirms this. Its not exactly untrue as this is the very thing that fuels people’s need for revenge, or rooting for the villain to get his comeuppance, in movies. Basically, it feels good when the bad guy gets it, especially when you do it yourself.

In Will’s next session with Hannibal, they discuss Will’s new outlook on the world. His rebirth, as it were. Hannibal does wish Will would move past what he thinks Hannibal did to him, and focus on the bigger picture of accessing, and freeing, his murderous tendencies, focusing instead on what he’d like to do to Hannibal.

Contrast Will’s authoritative, “Don’t lie to me,” to his pleading with Hannibal in season one, not to lie to him. Here, Will is calm, assertive, and in firm control. This is a command, not a request.

Both Hannibal and Alana are suspicious of Will’s return to therapy with Hannibal, although he doesn’t bring up this subject with Will until after Alana mentions it.Will’s excuse is that he can’t talk to anyone else about what’s happened to him, that he  still fantasizes about killing Hannibal, and it is only now that he finds Hannibal interesting. (This statement is a callback to the season one episode, Apertif, when Will said the two of them would never  be friends because Hannibal was uninteresting.)

The forensic team determines that Sarah Craber’s body was not the only one, and find a field of 15 bodies, from which hers had been taken, and stuffed into the horse’s corpse. At the scene, Zeller offers Will an apology for not believing him about being the Chesapeake Ripper. He feels guilty because he thinks if he had supported Beverly in trying to re-determine Will’s innocence, she would have confided in her team and would still be alive. He is probably not wrong. This makes me like Zeller a little more because he’s kind of a dick.

There is also a sub-theme in this episode of people bullying and manipulating those under their authority. In a later session with Hannibal, Margo discusses how she reached the point of trying to murder her bother. So we have Margo being bullied and degraded by her brother, who was their father’s favorite and  heir, so Mason controls all the money. Hannibal advises her to wait for a better time to do it or find someone to do it for her.Then there’s Peter Bernardone being manipulated by his social worker, Clark Ingram, to take the fall for his serial killings, and Will Graham who has also been abused and manipulated by Hannibal, his psychiatrist.

Will manages to gently coax the information from Peter about how he found Sarah’s body, and that it was his social worker who  was her killer. He hasn’t told anyone because he doesn’t think he would be believed. Will makes a point of letting Peter know he believes him, and calls Clark in for an interview.

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Clark Ingram is interviewed by Alana. This is a scene that showcases what Alana does and how good she is at it. Basically, her job is what Hannibal was called to do when he first met Will, assessing people’s mental capacity to go to court, hold certain jobs within the organization, or assess types of mental illnesses, as she did in season one, with Abel Gideon.

During the interview, Alana appears to be a lot less obtuse than she’s usually shown. She was mostly clueless during season one when it came to assessing Will’s mental state, and I think the entire audience for this show agrees with me, when I say I winced every time she and Hannibal were shown having sex. Its  telling that she and Hannibal never seem to show any other forms of affection outside of bumping uglies. I had the impression that the two of them are not in love. They definitely like each other but its more like friends with benefits, or each other’s side piece.

I think Alana’s problem is that once she’s close to a person she completely loses any ability to be objective, which I can fully understand. Its just that in practice, on the show, its something that makes her appear kind of dense. Here, she masterfully manipulates Clark to get him to show his psychotic side. Clark blames Peter for the deaths and is let go. There’s a interesting, antagonistic exchange between Jack and Will about the interview. Will expresses some bitterness to Jack during the interview, recognizing his situation in Bernardone’s, of not being believed, when he pointed his finger at an authority figure. Jack tells him he pointed in the wrong direction. Both of them are putting on an act for Hannibal.

Clark immediately goes to Bernardone’s mini-zoo and sets free or kills all of his animals as retribution for Peter’s accusations. There is a marked difference in tactics between Hannibal and Clark. These two psychopaths are very different. Clark, like Chilton, isn’t nearly as smart, or subtle, as Hannibal. Hannibal actually does care about Will, (although he doesn’t seem to know the extent of his feelings for him), and sees Will, mostly, as an equal. Clark doesn’t see Peter as an equal or a partner. He isn’t trying to elevate Peter to a higher self. Clark views Peter much the way Hannibal views the people he eats.(They mean nothing beyond their use to him.)

Hannibal too, lacks empathy but is attempting to transcend that  by understanding Will. He seems to realize that his lack of empathy hampers his relationship with Will. Clark isn’t doing any such thing. He isn’t trying to understand Peter and doesn’t care about him, and isn’t trying to be friends, nevertheless, Will can’t seem to get past the parallels in these two relationships.

Peter returns to find all his animals gone, and is confronted by Clark.

Will, understanding that Clark is guilty, and perhaps sensing that he will retaliate against Peter, heads out with Hannibal to make sure Peter is okay. In the car, Hannibal points out the similarities between their situation and Peter’s, and Will’s need to save him. He tries to assure Will that he’s got his back and Will is not alone.

It’s interesting that we almost never see Will driving anywhere. We know he can drive and owns a car but I bet none of you can tell me what the make and model of that car is, either. He almost always seems to be falling asleep in someone else’s car. Hell, I don’t even know what make of car Hannibal drives, although we can be sure its a high-end European model because that just seems like his taste.

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They arrive to find Peter alone in the barn, with the body of another horse, and suspect Peter has stuffed Clark’s body inside, since that’s the kind of thing he does. However, unlike Sarah Craber, Clark isn’t dead, and in one of Hannibal’s more disgusting pieces of imagery, in a series filled with such things, we watch a grown man crawl out of a horse’s  corpse.

Filled with righteous fury, on Peter’s behalf, Will threatens to shoot Clark but he is stopped by Hannibal, who convinces him that Clark is not a worthy substitute for Hannibal. This is not an act on Will’s part as he actually does pull the trigger. It is only  Hannibal’s thumb, coming between the hammer and firing pin, that saves Clark’s life. Hannibal is naturally proud of Will’s willingness to kill but doesn’t want him wasting all that murderous energy on Clark, as its not so much rage at Peter’s situation that has him in such a state, as rage against Hannibal’s behavior towards him, Hannibal says Will should save all his anger for him.

And yes, we can talk about  another image of Hannibal cradling Will’s head, the seat of Will’s intellect and emotions, and the part of him that Hannibal considers the most important, and most often does so when attempting to manipulate Will to some goal of his. Over the course of the series we get  several shots of Hannibal touching Will’s face or head, whereas Will rarely touches Hannibal, and never initiates touch, even when circumstances would make it excusable. Whenever Hannibal touches Will, Will often passively allows it, neither pulling away, nor protesting the treatment.Though many fans view Hannibal’s physical behavior towards Will as that of lovers, and Fuller himself states that it is a love story, I often viewed their dynamic much like   that of Mason’s and Margo’s relationship. You have an older, paternalistic,  authoritative, and abusive sibling, who  dominates a younger, rebellious one, and touch is just one more item in their arsenal of manipulation.

In therapy, Margo has much in common with Will. She often states what Will’s actual feelings are towards Hannibal. When  Hannibal asks if she loves her brother, she emphatically states that she does, which is why she can’t bring herself to kill him, even though he is abusive to her,   nevertheless she still plans to kill Mason someday, this parallels Will’s feelings and plans for Hannibal.

Notice how the scenery and plot spirals down into the story of Will and Hannibal as the season progresses. When the series began, the story and settings seemed more open and expansive but as the plot begins to focus more and more on their relationship, the settings become darker, more intense, with less humor. Everything begins to feel  more claustrophobic as  there is nothing that seems to  happen outside of the handful of people in the series, Jack, Alana, Will, and Hannibal, and there are fewer and fewer daytime and outdoor scenes. Even though Will is no longer actually confined, as he was in the beginning of the season, the viewer  starts to feel confined by the tightening closeness of the plot, lighting, and set.

Also as the season progresses notice the change in Will’s attire from the first season. The closer he gets to Hannibal in his bid to capture him, we see less of the StagMan, but Will does start to emulate Hannibal in other ways, much like Franklyn, Hannibal’s first patient from season one. Will’s clothes have become darker and he wears lots of blue, as a callback to his confinement in the blue jumpsuit at he hospital. Like Margo he wears protective high collars, or scarves, and not just because it seems to be winter forever on this show. Notice that characters who feel especially vulnerable, in this series, often wear dark, armor-like clothing, high collars and neckwear, (Abigail, Will, Margo). Characters that don’t feel that way, and are more open about their feelings, wear more open clothing, in lighter colors, like Alana, Mason, and  Hannibal.

For more on Hannibal’s style of dress:

Stylishly Executed – The Clothes of Hannibal & How To Dress Like Lecter

 

 

Tumblr Talks About Media

 Shonda Rhimes new Shakespearean drama, Still Star Crossed, which I’m totally here for, and the deeply (and I mean deeply) ignorant backlash against this, as if black people hadn’t been invented until 1964.

ABC Orders Shondaland’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Sequel, “Still Star-Crossed”

ABC’s “Still Star-Crossed” stars Wade Briggs as Benvolio, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline & Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus

Written by Heather Mitchell, and based on the book by Melinda Taub, the “Romeo & Juliet” sequel is titled “Still Star-Crossed” and is set in 16th century Verona, picking up where Shakespeare’s original work ended. It chronicles the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.

Teaser Trailer:

https://youtu.be/TVwa9wQq40Q

 

Source:

Oh quit bullshitting like this isn’t about your racism. Anthony Hopkins did Titus Andronicus as a half-dream half art piece with Saturnius and Bassanius using podiums and 1950′s style microphones to argue which one of them should be king. Kenneth Branagh did Hamlet in the Victorian Era. David Tennant did Hamlet in a fucking t-shirt. “Sons of Anarchy” was based on the story of Hamlet and it was about a motorcycle club running guns to the IRA. Don’t give me any shit about fucking ‘historical accuracy’ you fucking ponce, it’s SHAKESPEARE- it’s literally been done by a dog dressed in little hats and jackets (Wishbone, I never forgot you) and Wednesday and Pugsley Adams. If you have a problem with this you are not only a racist asshat, but you are so damn ignorant of Shakespeare I don’t even fucking know why you bothered to have an opinion except to let people KNOW you are a racist asshat.

And I mean, all good Shakespeare companies blind cast. Shakespeare companies pretty much invented that. An African-American actor was playing King Lear in the 1820s in London, yet  people still get bent out of shape over actors of color in Shakespeare in the 2010s. It’s a long tradition, unlike the movie and TV tradition of casting people of color mostly in small roles and only “when there’s a reason for it.”

 *These are the type of criticisms PoC get from people who know no form of history, or have ever read Shakespeare, but have the nerve to go online and make arguments like the ones above.
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*And finally, this happened. I have since heard that the lead female character from Castle was ousted from the show because Nathan Fillion hated the actress. Interesting behind the scenes rumors.

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Black Widow thoughts:

Geeking Out About : WoC in SFF

 

 

Lately, geekdom has been having some interesting,  and contentious,  new discussions regarding diversity in some of our favorite shows and films. Women of Color have always been in it, because hey! we live on this planet, too, and I just want to give a shout out to some of my favorite WoC, who inspired my Pop Cultural geekiness.

At first, I was going to do a post just on Black women, but I decided I needed to put it up or shut it up, and include all women of color, who have brought and continue to bring their “A” to the  game and those who have and will always inspire me to be ” That Weird Black Girl”.

Nichelle Nichols image As Uhura, on the Original Star Trek, she wasn’t just a secretary, she was also an engineer. There were plenty of times we watched her fixing her communications station. She was Boss! And been credited with influencing more Black women to go into the sciences,  than any other woman on this list, including this astronaut:

image This is Dr. Mae Jemison and her flight gear handler. (Get your Google on!)

When I was ten years old, I thought Nichelle was everything a Black woman should be. Smart, elegant, graceful,  beautiful. She taught me that Black women, (that I), have a place in the future. Until Nichelle put her thing down, a lot of us had never been taught that we had a future.

Rinko Kikushi image

I have it on good authority that little Asian girls look up to the character of Mako Mori, from Pacific Rim, but Rinko makes this list because I loved her character’s  backstory, and Mako’s show of character, in fighting for what she wanted, but still respecting her adoptive father’s wishes, played by Idris Elba. Also my niece is totally little girl-crushing on that defiantly, blue streak of hair.

Lucy Liu: image

 I just like watching her.  She never seems to take any of her jobs too seriously, has a quirky sense of humor,  and always has a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

Rila Fukushima: image Throw it up! for Rila’s exemplary sword work in the movie The Wolverine. I was impressed. She’s not my picture of Yukio from the comics, but she is perfectly acceptable.

Dichen Lachman: image  Dichen has been in a number of genre TV shows, most recently Marvel Agents of Shield. She is, hands down, one of the most gorgeous Asian women on TV. And yeah, she kicks ass, too.

Saya: imageFrom Blood:The Last vampire. She’s got a sword and she’s hardcore. I will be  introducing my niece, a huge Hitgirl fan,  to Saya, this Summer.

Chun Li: image From the Streetfighter video game. I always chose this character whenever I played any version of  this game. She had some sweet and fun moves. (The movie sucked, though. We try to ignore it.)

Devon Aoki: image She starred in Sin City as the very lethal, and’ terrifyin’, Miho. Miho was all business.You do not fuck with Miho.

Eartha Kitt: image She is, as far as I’m concerned, , the first, the one, the only,  and the  true, Catwoman.

Tina Turner image As Aunty Entity, she ruled BarterTown,  in a dress made of chainmail. Seriously people! CHAINMAIL! She also had a misplaced British accent, a gang of football thugs as henchmen, and some monster trucks, so you can keep your Furiosa, because Tina got there first. (Just kiddin’! I love Furiosa.)

Rutina Wesley image The  first time I saw Tara, on True Blood, she was giving a convenience store lurker, the very erudite backside of her tongue. Afterwards, she  beat up another lady, in the store.  I couldn’t help but love her, as I have fond memories, of giving  people the business end of my tongue, when I was younger and less diplomatic, (just without the beat downs, though.)

I made the mistake of introducing my Mom to the show, in its last season. Guess who she fell in love with, right off the beat? Guess!

Freema Ageyema:  image The only Black female companion I’ve ever seen on the show, Dr. Martha Jones, also did a couple of stealth episodes of Torchwood. I’m not a huge fan of Dr. Who, but I’ve watched an episode here and there, and I enjoyed watching Martha and her family on the show.

Naomi Harris: image The first time I saw Naomi, she was bludgeoning some  guy, with a machete, and getting high on pills and falling in love with Cillian Murphy, (and who wouldn’t?) in 28 Days Later. Then, in Skyfall,  she sniped James Bond with a high powered rifle. Naomi always brings it. She is  currently Ms. Moneypenny, James’ handler, which should give us plenty of opportunities to watch her snipe at him.)

Nichole Beharrie: image I love how the writers gave Abbie Mills so much depth on Sleepy Hollow, without racializing all of her. Not everything about a Black person’s life involves race and the writers are very good to introduce the topic only when its necessary to the plot. She, her friends, and her family are all characters, who just  happen to be Black, while dealing with the Supernatural, making Sleepy Hollow unlike any other genre show on television.

Danai  Guirira: image Michonne is a total badass. If I had to pick a dream team of women to ride out the apocalypse, she’d be my first choice.

Grace Jones: imageAs a teenager, I admired the Hell out of this woman. It didn’t hurt that she dated or slept with every hot male celebrity you could think of, back in the day. From David Bowie and Adam Ant, to Dolph Lundgren. She also gets special merit for being one of the first Black female Egyptian vampires,  in the  80s movie, Vamp. She never spoke a word, and was still more terrifying than anybody in Twilight.

Jada Pinkett-Smith:image Fish Mooney, Gotham. Penguin and Fish are the two best character interactions on the entire show and the only reason to have watched it.

Rosario Dawson:image As Gail in Sin City, she liked to bite people. She is currently starring as The Night Nurse on Netflix’s Daredevil. I read a few issues of the Night Nurse when I was a little girl, so if my glee at seeing her finally depicted on the TV screen, is baffling to you, there you go.

Gina Torres:

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I will always love Joss Whedon for this one thing. Zoe is totally in love with her husband,  tells him she will be the mother of his child one day, despite his doubts, and is a total badass, calmly tucking her Captain’s chopped off ear into her bra, while rescuing her husband from Russian Space Gangsters. Gina has always been The Queen! The Goddess! from Cleopatra 2525 to Hannibal.

Michelle Rodriguez: 

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This is for every movie she’s ever starred in, even if she does die in all of them. Somebody get her role in a movie that she can survive, please.

Jeanette Goldstein:

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A better movie would’ve had Vasquez team up with Ripley, to take down the Alien Queen, after all the male characters had been killed. But this is Hollywood,where only one bad ass woman, per movie, is some kind of law.

All these Women of Color are why I am, and always will be, a total Geekgirl, because like I said before, sometimes Women of Color  like to be  Heroes, too.

Hannibal Season Two :Yakimono

The second half of season two often begins with one or more characters thoughtfully engaging in some personal activity. Since they’re often alone we can’t hear what they’re thinking and are left to makeup any story that we prefer.

I like to think the characters are pondering the events of the last episode. This time its Jack’s turn, as he sits, listening to Miriam Lass’ calls to his cellphone, interspersed with scenes of Jack’s forensic team, processing the evidence from Miriam’s body. We watch as she is being fitted with her new prosthetic arm, to replace the one Lecter gave to Jack. We’re left to speculate on Jack’s feelings during this interval, as surely he must be feeling a tremendous weight of guilt and shame, for having believed Miriam to be dead, and hence, never searching for her. (Outside of HannibalLand,  we know a trainee would never have been sent to questions suspects or witnesses in such a case.)

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Miriam tells Jack she was actually treated well by the Ripper (calling back to Lecter’s statement to Bella that he employs an ethical butcher and does not believe in unnecessary suffering of animals), when he kept her and even when he took her arm. (Remember, Cassie Boyle’s lungs were removed while she was still alive, which sounds  horrific, except after hearing Lecter’s statement,  we realize she probably never felt anything, if he drugged her before cutting them out.)

All of this must take place over the course of several weeks perhaps,  as it takes time to be fitted with a prosthetic anything.

*Bedelia must have at some point heard, or read, Miriam’s testimony, or got the information from Lecter, because she uses this same claim that she was mentally manipulated, and heavily drugged, to avoid being arrested by the Italian Police, in season three.

Miriam claims not to remember the killer’s voice but she does remember his voice. So Jack, covering all his bases, (because I still don’t think he actually truly believes Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper), calls Lecter in for an interview with Alana. This is also something that wouldn’t happen in real life, as she and Lecter have a personal relationship, and this would be seen as a serious conflict of interest, on Alana’s  part. It matters not as Miriam points the finger away from Lecter during the interview. She doesn’t recognize his voice.

Hannibal - Season 2

 

Will is quietly released from the hospital. Chilton confronts Will as he leaves and Will warns him that he is now on Lecter’s shitlist. Gideon has disappeared, so now he and Chilton are the only two people who suspect anything might ever have been done to Will, and Will is not in any particular danger anymore, because Lecter wants to be his friend. Will urges Chilton to confess all his sins to Jack, shine a light on his relationship to Lecter, and try to convince Jack that Lecter is guilty of being The Ripper.

The thing that most humanizes Lecter is his love and admiration for the very worthy Will Graham. The thing that dehumanizes Will Graham is his warm regard for Lecter or certainly that’s what Will thinks. He believes his regard for Hannibal lessens him and that is also one of the primary reasons Hannibal must be destroyed. In destroying Hannibal Will believes he can save himself. But he also understands that in destroying Hannibal he would also destroy himself, because as horrible as it sounds, Hannibal is also the source of Will’s greatest happiness. Hannibal fully accepts him. Contrast that with Jack, for whom his special skills are merely tools, Alana, who would rather analyze him, and Chilton, who’d like nothing more than to dissect him. Everyone in the show, except for Hannibal, treats Will as if he were a two headed bug.

Hannibal wants nothing more from Will than understanding and acceptance. He is very happy to let Will point his high powered perception at him. And, he wants Will to be at peace with the darkness inside him, instead of constantly fighting against it. Is this not the purpose of a good friend?  To want whats best for you? That what’s best for Will is also what’s best for Hannibal is really beside the point.

Fuller has done such a tremendous job of humanizing Hannibal, that like Will, we often forget that Hannibal is a monster. It’s a testament to Fuller’s  skills that he can put us fully in Will Graham’s shoes regarding his feelings for Hannibal. He can show us Hannibal committing his crimes and we’re  still capable of forgetting what he is during the span of an episode.

On his way out of the hospital Will also encounters Jack, and Will is understandably bitter that Jack wouldn’t listen to him about Lecter, when Jack tries to apologize. But Jack seems willing to listen now, after he tells Will of the finding of Miriam Lass. Will explains that the finding of Miriam is not definitive, that any evidence found with her will point away from Hannibal. Jack tells him that Miriam has already stated that her kidnapper was not Lecter.

Hannibal - Season 2

Jack takes Will to the place where Miriam was found and Will analyzes the scene. He tells Jack that he can’t simply accept Miriam’s word for what happened to her. His point is that he had Hannibal in his head for less than a year, and look what happened to him, so imagine having Hannibal in one’s head for two years. Will fires up his superpower and with almost no evidence, except his knowledge of how Hannibal thinks, discerns that The Ripper wanted Miriam to be found and that Jack can’t trust any of this to be what it seems.

Will goes home to find Alana and the dogs waiting for him. He has a few sassy words for her too. He knows she’s in a relationship with Hannibal. She seems worried that he’s going to try to have Hannibal killed again. Once again, Will impotently warns his “friends” that Hannibal is not to be trusted, and once again, they don’t listen.

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Instead of doing what Will told him to do, which is confess his sins and throw himself on Jack’s mercy, Chilton chooses instead to offer his pro bono services to bring Hannibal to heel. He offers to help Miriam recover her memory, which is exactly what Hannibal wants. This is a design that is months in the making. Keeping Miriam alive, making her believe that Chilton is her kidnapper, and finally, contriving that all of the final pieces come together to put the two of them in each other’s orbit.

Will goes to visit Miriam . As the only surviving victims of The Chesapeake Ripper, they have much to commiserate on. Will suspects she has been as much mentally manipulated as he was.

Later that evening, Hannibal has an encounter with an intense Will, in his kitchen. (Once again he has to get in a dig at Will’s aftershave. He does this once per season, as a running personal joke.) This is the prefect opportunity to kill Hannibal, but Will abides within the law, and doesn’t murder him in front of the open door of his refrigerator. He says he’s there to finish their last kitchen confidential,  interrupted by Jack’s bullet.

Hannibal - Season 2

Will warns Hannibal that his memories have all returned, he’s no longer sick and Hannibal should watch his back. In other words, Will is letting him know,  “Shit is on, bro’. Put on your game face!!” Will pulls the trigger but the chamber is empty.

Jack, as part of Miriam’s therapy, takes her to Hannibal so he can recover her memories. The evidence from Miriam, that the last thing she remembers is a picture of “Wound Man”, points to Hannibal because he fits the profile. But Alana throws Chilton under the bus (not the first time she will do this) by suggesting that Chilton also fits the profile. She states reasons why Chilton might want Hannibal to take the blame. (Yeah, thanks Alana. That’s not biased by your dislike of Chilton, at all.) In attempting to implicate Hannibal as The Ripper, Chilton only drew attention to himself.

Hannibal puts the final touches on his grand design. Chilton arrives home to find the legless, armless, body of Abel Gideon, breathing its last, in his basement office. He tries to escape but encounters Hannibal wearing his plastic suit. Hannibal drugs Chilton and kills the Federal agents who were sent to take him into custody. Chilton wakes to find himself coated in blood and  a massacre.

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Chilton runs to Will Graham for aid, while the forensic team finds evidence of “Wound Man” in his office. Instead of helpingChilton, Will calls Jack.He’s trying to tell Chilton, in a roundabout way, that he has a plan for taking down Hannibal and proving once and for all that he is The Chesapaeake Ripper. He just needs Chilton to be patient. Chilton still manages to be pretty funny, though. When Will says running would make him look guilty, Chilton has enough sass to reply that Will didn’t run and he still looked plenty guilty.

Chilton ain’t having any of that, though. When he finds that Will called Jack ,he holds Will at gunpoint, before running away. Will tries to tell Jack what’s really happening but Jack is seriously pissed that he’s lost two more agents and won’t listen to him. He chases Chilton down and apprehends him in the woods behind Will’s house.

We have conflict of interest again, as the same team that processed Beverly’s body, is the same team that gets to process evidence from the man they believed killed her. This is a serious breech of ethics in real life. This is how I know that Hannibal takes place in some alternate world, where crazed serial killers lurk around every corner, nobody owns a television, its always winter, and there’s only one forensic team for the entire nation. I’d also like to point out, once again, that psychological profilers do not participate in arrests and nether do forensic teams, as a general rule.

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It is Alana who gets to interrogate Chilton. Once again a serious breech of ethics as she is  known to have an antipathy towards him. As these are his colleagues, neither she, Will, or Hannibal would be called in to consult on his case. Miriam, finally put within orbit of Chilton, executes the final part of Hannibal’s plan. She is triggered by Chilton’s voice into grabbing Jacks gun and shooting Chilton.

Hannibal is delighted to find that Will has shown up for his former evening appointment, although he is wary that Will might try to shoot him again. He is unaware that this is part of Will’s new, more subtle, design to capture The Chesapeake Ripper, by cozying up to Hannibal, and getting him to incriminate himself. (Its interesting that Hannibal has Will’s old appointment slot still open.)

 

Music featured in the episode:

 

 

 

Clothing:

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Hannibal’s KGB Look
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Hannibal’s Serial Killer Dad Look

 

 

Note the change in Will’s wardrobe after his release from the hospital. Previously seen only in rumpled beiges, denims and brown (earth tones), he is now seen dressing in much cooler colors, grays , blacks and very deep blues. Is this meant to indicate the greater darkness in his nature now?  Is this supposed to match Hannibal’s darker wardrobe? Since it’s always winter, he wears a lot of high necked garments, and I wonder if this is in tribute to Abigail’s scarves from season one.

Also, note the change in his silhouette. It’s straighter, slimmer, more rectangular, with sharper angles in the shoulders and at the waist. It has the effect of making Will look noticeably taller and more refined and elegant, which is not a way he could’ve been described in the first season. This new style of dress is a reflection of the clarity and sharpness of  his mind and purpose. This is man without fear, who is wholly confident in what he’s doing. We’ll see more of this confidence in the next episode.

 

 

 

 

 

The Walking Dead: Bugging Out

In honor of The Walking Dead Finale, I thought I’d repost this, (from waaay back in 2014), with some minor edits:

If you’re a fan of zombie fiction you know  what “bugging out” means. For those not in the know, it means having a packed bag ready, with a couple articles of clothing, water, and food, so you can vacate that urban environment, that will soon be overrun with zombies and wild humans.

Well, I ain’t buggin’ no-damn-where. I sure as Hell am not going to run out to the woods, to survive the apocalypse. And, should you ever find me in the woods, you will know that civilization, has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

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No, no! I’m good here.

Seriously! Have you even watched the show The Walking Dead? Its as dangerous running around in the woods, with wild animals, cannibals, bikers and walkers as it would be to live in the city. At least, in the city, there’s no chance of also being eaten by bears or starving to death when you run out of granola.

And why would I go running out to the woods, when I don’t know one damn thing about living in the woods. I do know about living in the city. What’s more , I know about living in the city sans utilities. I don’t like it but I got that shit down. I know where everything is, which buildings are the best fortified and most importantly, where to find the best vending machines.

It doesn’t matter how many countless hours of Survivorman I have watched, there’s a lot of shit that just isn’t covered by that show. How am I going to get my hair done? (There are no Natural Haircare specialists in the woods.) What about moisturizer?( I have very dry skin, especially on my elbows.). Or sunscreen?

What happens when I get my period? (There’s no chocolate in the woods and I don’t believe bugs are a good substitute for that, no matter how many people say they’re good for you.) How am I going to stay clean during my monthly, with no water, when I’m not even allowed to wash my hair? What happens if you get sick out in the wilderness? I have asthma when it gets cold, and my nose likes to have a sinus infection, at least once a year. Something tells me that running around in the forest would up that quota. I would run out of Puffs in about thirty minutes.

Also, where would I go to use the toilet? I ain’t fo’ no squattin? That’s just not my bag. I have lived with the Porcelain God (and his accessory,Toilet Paper), my whole life. I shall worship them forever.

Command me, Lord!
Command me, Lord!

And, most importantly, what am I going to read? There ain’t no books in the woods and I’m not making my own. There’s only so many I could carry. I could scavenge them from any houses I stumbled across, but I don’t want to risk being shot because I needed new reading material, and Americans don’t read, anyway,  so the likelihood of finding books is pretty low. Since Americans who do read, have atrocious taste in books, the likelihood of finding a good book to read would be nil.

It’s also extremely difficult to find yarn, for  my crocheting, in the woods.

Let’s face it, most of us are not equipped for forest living. I know far more about living  in the Big City, than I do about  living in the woods. I live on Lake Erie, so water would be readily available. There’s plenty of food and other resources to scavenge and sleeping under a ready-made shelter, like in an office building, is way nicer than sleeping in a bag on the ground. It most certainly would be less wet.

Yes, there will be more zombies in the city but there’s also more people to fight them. And Black people don’t have a problem working together and cooperating with each other to meet a common goal like food production or zombie fighting, although, the going narrative seems to be that people in the city would have less of a chance to survive. I call bullshit on that narrative. I’m assuming whoever came up with it,  thinks Black people would lose their shit and start that race war, they’ve all been hankering for. Trust me, we wouldn’t. We’d be too busy building rope walkways between our houses.

Quite frankly, I don’t think our lives will be greatly upheaved. We all know our zombie lore, having completely memorized the Dawn of the Dead remake.

What not to do.
What not to do.

Also, Black men are some amazingly clever tinkers. My brother and his friends, will probably have the whole neighborhood hooked up with electricity and running water, using car batteries, electrical cords and duct tape in the space of a week. Plus, it’s just safer hanging out in our own neighborhood because there’s more than a few White people who are just itching to use a zombie apocalypse as an excuse to execute Black people. They’re too scared to come here, now. They’re not going out of their way to visit during the apocalypse. I’m sure they’ll be too busy.

The place to not be be during a zombie apocalypse is the suburbs. In the city: plenty of places to scavenge for medicine because it’s where all the pharmacies are, if you shop early. I don’t drink booze, but hey, liquor stores are  everywhere, although I suspect that’s the first place people will raid. Bottled water – check. Diapers – check. Formula – check. Neighbors who are trying to shoot you – probably not. And do you know how much non-perishable food there is in the city? At my place of work alone, there’s about ten vending machines, full of soda, chips, peanuts and those little Chef Boyardee microwavable cups, with the pull tabs.

A full banquet.
A full banquet.

Also, some of us don’t have the luxury of “bugging out”. I have an elderly parent with a lot of medical issues. There’s no way I’m going to talk her into going out in the woods. I can’t even convince her to go outside when it gets below 50 degrees. Plus, she requires a small pharmacy just for her medical needs. Hell, I need diabetes medication and my glasses. What happens if I lose my glasses in the woods? I can’t even see to drive without them. I’m certainly not going to stumble around in the woods without them. Jeebus help you, if you have a physical disability or a mental illness more desperate than glasses. You better have a damn good group of friends to help you out. There’s a reason we don’t see people complaining about the arthritis in their knees. People suffering from arthritis are probably all dead.

Let’s be truthful. “Bugging out” is an activity reserved for fit, single, young, White, video game playing men, who dislike their families. Young men who are barely equipped to survive in the suburbs, with running water and microwave ovens. Young men who think they will find a hot woman and fall in love, when they can’t even attract a woman while theyre able to practice good hygiene. In other words, they think they’re Glenn from The Walking Dead, when  most such men are like Eugene. They will have to get other people to protect them. And they’d have to use lies and deception because they’re certainly not going to be able to use their charming personalities. Glenn is likable. They’re not. They’re the kind of people most people want to shoot after spending just five minutes alone with them.

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It’s all well and good for someone like Michonne, a Black  woman, alone, wandering around in the woods chopping up zombies. She’s not even remotely concerned about being raped, taken hostage for some nutjob’s  harem, or shot for being Black during the apocalypse. She’s got skills. I harbor absolutely no illusions that I am Michonne. My vast knowledge of Samurai and Kung Fu movies is not going to be very helpful.

Not me!
Not me!
          Still not me.
Still not me.
            Nope!
Nope!

What the hell is this huge crowd of young men and their hot, but conveniently helpless girlfriends, going to be doing in the woods? My guess would be trying to look tough while carrying blunted Samurai swords they have no fucking clue how to use, and drawing the population of zombies out of the city. Those of us who couldn’t “bug out”, can get to rebuilding civilization, without being bothered by their macho silliness.

Either that or being victimized and killed by all of the other people, much tougher than them, who have watched the same zombie movies, but who actually know how to use a Samurai sword.  People who all decided to leave the city, thinking it would be safer.

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With most of the population eaten, those of us with family members we actually love, will have to work it out for ourselves.

Is anybody writing a book for those of us who can’t Bug Out? This needs doing.

No?

I guess I better hop to it, then.

Books That need To Be Brought To A Screen Near Somebody

Octavia Butler –

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 Actually just about anything by Octavia Butler could and should be filmed. I think  Clay’s Ark would make a wonderful television series about humanity in decline and being supplanted by a better, stronger race. Fledgling would be problematic to film. One of  its main themes is racism, and one of the greatest hurdles to film would be the youth of the protagonist and her social and feeding  arrangements.

 

The Cal Leandros Series By Rob Thurman

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A series of books about the NY adventures of two brothers living among the city’s monsters, one of them a half human, half monster and the other a blond American Samurai, who are totally devoted to each other. This series has a lot of similarities to Supernatural but with slightly less angst and more ass kicking. The themes of child abuse and c0-dependent relationships could easily be explored here.

I would give my left nut to see Cal Leandros cussing and shooting his way across my TV. As for Robin Goodfellow, I simply cannot think of anyone who could do himcorrectly, but, as one of the oldest beings on Earth, I do like the idea of racebending the character to Asian or African.

 

The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

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Peter Grant is a cop who stumbles onto a magical London during one of his cases. One of the standouts of this book is that the protagonist is a black man and many of the characters he meets, including the Queens of the various rivers of London are PoC, too. I picture Peter Capaldi as Nightingale. The first book would make an excellent mini-series or movie. I wouldn’t mind seeing this in animated form either.

 

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

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I’ve always pictured Vin Diesel in the role of Sandman Slim. Of course I’m open to anyone who can play a bad ass, modern day, magic user who loves obscure horror movies and dates a spider-girl.

 

Elvis Cole/Joe Pike Series by Robert Crais

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Like the series Justified, this would be great on TV. I have no idea who would portray Elvis Cole, but more importantly, you’d need someone who can play Joe Pike correctly. Joe is a fairly deep character and a man of few words. A lot of televisions creators wouldn’t be able to depict those two qualities very well, so it would largely depend on the talents of the actor.

 

The Hexslinger Series by Gemma Files

 

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This is a real long shot and  would make a great movie but I can’t see this ever getting made by Hollywood. For one thing it features a non-tragic, gay character who starts off as a villain and becomes a hero by the end of the series. It would make a much better television show but I don’t see that getting made either as its a western  full of upended stereotypes.

 

 Territory by Emma Bull

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This book is probably much easier to make a movie from. It features a magic slinging Wyatt Earp and other classic Western characters. Think Hell on Wheels, crossed with a Jim Butcher novel.

 

The Midnight Mayor Series by Kate Griffith

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This is another book whose magic would be a little difficult to convey on screen as it does not allow for pretty lights coming  out of people’s hands. In this series, its the city itself, London,  that holds the magic, and practitioners can access it to do incredible things, like create monsters made of garbage, talk to the dragon that lives under the Thames or travel through  electrical wiring and neon signs..

 

The Sonja Blue Series by Nancy  Collins

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This would make a great series on HBO. This is pretty dark and gritty series. The only comparison I could make, would be Blade as a young adult woman, only without all the martial skills he possesses. Since she doesn’t have any of those skills, her fighting would be a lot dirtier. Hey, they managed to make The Crow into a movie, why not this book?

 

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

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If they can bring The Stand to television as a miniseries, then this can also be filmed. Think McCarthy’s The Road, with magic, bigger and crazier gangs of people, and shapeshifting demons.

 

The Bridge by John Skipp and Craig Spector

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This is a horror  movie waiting to happen. It does not have a happy ending, however, so that is likely to be rewritten or scrapped altogether. Its got plenty of action and monsters, so there’d be lots of great reasons to have special effects.

 

 

The Light at the End by John Skipp and Craig Spector

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This is quite possibly one of the most awesome vampire novels ever. So why will nobody film this? Instead we keep getting endless damn retreads of Insidious ripoffs. This book was written thirty  years ago, still holds up to scrutiny, and Hollywood has completely ignored it, in favor of giving us shit like the Transformers movies. Really?!!

Ahh well, there’s a metric buttload of books Hollywood could be making into movies and television shows, that we will never get to see. I guess we have no choice but to dream about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geeking Out About: Mid-season Series, Maybe

Frankly, I think I have enough stuff to watch without being inundated with new shows this January. I think its very inconsiderate for television to air all these great shows, all at the same time, and in such a way that I don’t have any time to look at them, but that said, I am looking forward to some new stuff that I may or may not like.

I can’t promise anything, though. I’m going to use the same tactic as used this Fall. I’m going to start watching these shows and then weed out the ones that just don’t make the cut. But even if I don’t review them or even like them, I ‘m  still eager to try them out:

Shows like:

The Magicians:

This is one of the top shows I’m looking forward to this season. I loved the books, (I’m still reading the third book. The second book is okay but not  as good as the first) and the characters look not so different from how I imagined them. I don’t like that it looks sort of like a sexier version of a CW show, but the books are described as Harry Potter with sex and drugs.

 

 

The Expanse:

I’m a big fan of Thomas Jane, and this looks like an outer space, noir, mystery mashup  thing I would like. It s probably a little more  Dashell Hammett in Space than Outland.

 

Childhood’s End:

Nope! I never read the book, nor do I have the urge to read it now. I know a little bit about it because scfi fans keep talking about how wonderful it is, but I’m interested strictly in the show. Now that its actually a series, I don’t want to spoil all my questions by reading the books. Its really nice to see the SYFY channel start actually trying to be a science fiction network  after having gone so wrong, in the past.

 

 

Rush Hour:

I really really want to like this because I liked the movies but the actor they have here only reminds me that he’s not Chris Tucker. He’s just not  funny. Also, there might be some racist yellow peril and Asian sexism in here, that I can’t abide. I don’t see this show being much of a rival for Into the Badlands.

 

 

Damien:

I can watch just about anything with angels and demons in it and I’m a big fan of the original movies, so this is right up my alley. I’m looking for a certain amount of depth from this one.

 

 

Legends of Tomorrow:

This just looks like fun. Good mindless fun. This will probably be playing in the background while I do other stuff.

 

 

The X-Files:

I was a fan of the original but I don’t expect the dynamic of the old show to reassert itself, but it is nice to see this show make a comeback.

Agent Carter:

I lost interest in this show about four or five episodes into the season. Its not a bad show, it just wasn’t compelling enough to hold my attention in a sea of other, better shows. I really like the idea of a female led show but it made my shit list when it had no WoC in it in NY city (which had a massive population of PoC, during that time period), and the fandom got on my last nerve with BS about how WoC need to wait their turn while White women get theirs. (These are people who need to learn the definition of the term intersectionality.)

I’m hoping the show does better on the diversity front now that it has moved to LA, but I’m not holding my breath, and no, I still don’t want anything to do with the fans of this show.

 

There will also  be the staple shows like Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story, and The Walking Dead.

I know I haven’t been doing any Sleepy Hollow recaps but I just have not the time. I haven’t stopped watching it or liking it, though.

Coming Soon: Ash Vs. The Evil Dead Review, some more movies, and a Jessica Jones Overview.

Hopefully I can get some Meta Essays out for Hannibal, George Miller’s Feminist credentials, and Tropic Thunder (although that one is a long shot. I haven’t even started it yet), during the hiatus.

So many promises, so little time.

This should be like Field of Dreams. if I write it, y’all  will show up and read’em. Right?

Part Three : Legend of Drunken Master/Drunken Master II

Did I mention that  I was a huge Jackie Chan fan? I  love this actor because he’s so talented, dedicated and positive. (He really is kind of like Snoopy, only more lethal.) He’s worked very hard at presenting the idea that Martial Arts isn’t just meant to be scary or violent.

No, I haven’t watched everything in which he’s starred,  but I definitely put some effort into that. Still, there are some movies I just keep coming back to, no matter what else Jackie does and Legend of  Drunken Master is one of them.

Legend of Drunken Master is a sequel to the original 1978 movie, titled Drunken master, so in some circles,the more current movie, from 1994, is referred to as Drunken master II. I’m pretty sure that the sequel is the movie I saw first. Later I backtracked and saw the original, but was not impressed. its not a bad film, its just not as good as the remix. Outside of Thunderleg (what a great name!)  and Lau Kar leung,  I don’t know any of the original cast, but the 1994 version has a great pool of actors I’ve seen before.

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Lau Kar Leung, the director of the  Shaw Brothers film, 36th Chamber of Shaolin, makes a cameo appearance, along with Anita Mui, who I remember from The Heroic Trio, one of the very first action films I ever watched, that had all female leads, and  which also starred Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh.

Actually, Drunken Master is one of a whole genre of films featuring  the legendary Wong Fei Hung, who is a revered figure in China. Nearly every big name star out of Hong Kong, has done at least one film about Fei Hung and there’s  a bajllion movies starring this character .For more on on the real life Wong Fei Hung, visit:

http://www.wongfeihung.com/

This is a Wong Fei Hung movie with Jackie as the lead, Lung Ti, as his father, (he’s excellent, btw) and Anita Mui, who doesn’t look nearly old enough to play his mother, but has  great comedic timing, so I loved her conniving character. Also, Andy Lau makes a short cameo, as well.

The plot is surprisingly complicated, involving some stolen artifacts, the English Ambasssador?, The Wong’s martial arts school, and a factory that’s  being used as a fence for the stolen artifacts. All of this is sort of loosely strung together to make one giant plot with some fight scenes thrown in. The dialogue is occasionally awful but the music is fun and engaging.

 

The film has some tragic  moments but its okay to laugh too, as the movie is meant to be  funny. From Fei Hung trying to sneak some ginseng through customs and then having to try to get it back but snagging one of the stolen artifacts instead,  to Ling (Anita Mui) gambling away her wedding ring playing Mah Jongg, the movie starts on a high note.

The first fight scene, between Lau Kar Leung (as Fu Wen Chi) and Fei Hung, underneath a train, is a wonder to behold, as  they duke it out with  staves in this tiny, enclosed space. The funniest moments occur when Fei Hung gives names to all the drunken fighting techniques he’s pulling out of his ass, right there on the spot, like:  “Turtle Holding Wine Barrel” and Drunken Maid Flirting with the Master”.

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Later, we see Fei Hung demonstrating Drunken Boxing techniques, in the town square, with his friends. He is cautioned by his father against practicing this particular skill, as  he says, “Its difficult to control one’s drinking, and that many drunken boxers become little more than drunken fools.” Fei Hung’s father  drops little bits of knowledge like this throughout the movie, which made an impression on my 25 yr. old self. Another one, regarding drinking, “Boats can float in water, but they can sink in it,too.”

Fei Hung and his father have a fight about this later, and it totally  brings all the feels, as Fei Hung makes the awful mistake of actually hitting his father. If you know anything about Chinese culture that’s an unforgivable breach of  behavior.

But Fei Hung’s father does eventually forgive him, because Fei Hung was drunk at the time, and not his proper self. It also doesn’t hurt that the bad guys humiliate Fei Hung in the town square, where he retreated to , of course, get drunk after the fight with his father.

Anita Mui gets into the action, when she gets to throw down with Wen Chi, using her Skirt Style. I don’t know if that’s an actual style of Martial Arts, (I suspect it isn’t), but it makes sense for women to have learned a style where  their moves are unpredictable because their skirts are so big, you can’t see what their legs are doing. Anita looks great doing it, at any rate. (If it’s not a real style , someone should invent it.)

While all of this is going on, Ling confesses to her husband that she’s pregnant, the factory workers have revolted, and get beat up by the smugglers, who  are running around trying to find a lost Imperial Stamp, (now in Fei Hung’s possession), Wen Chi is also trying to find the stamp, and pays for it with his life, when they are all attacked by the smuggler’s henchmen.

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The final showdown takes place in the factory, where Fei Hung can use the maximum amount of props in his fight against the semi-talented henchmen of the smugglers, and the supremely talented Ken Lo, who  gets in some serious foot action and almost defeats him. There’s also some Fire-Fu,  as Fei Hung falls into a bed of hot coals.

Fei Hung has to rely on his Drunken Boxing techniques  to defeat Lo and even that is not enough. No! He’s going to have to actually get drunk, even though he promised his father he would never do it again. This fight  goes on for what seems like a long time but is actually only a few minute s long. it doesn’t matter because by the end of it you’re almost as exhausted as if you had participated in it yourself, and that counts for some great movie watching, in my experience

Legend of Drunken Master is available on Netflix, Crackle and Youtube.

 

Part One: Favorite Movie Martial Artists

In anticipation of Into the Badlands, coming to AMC this Sunday, lets talk:

I’ve been watching Martial arts movies since I was a kid. Sitting with my brothers on  Saturday afternoons,  watching Chinese people fake kick each other, with bad English dubbing. Yeah, I watched all of them: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, The Five Deadly Venoms. The Flying Guillotine, Drunken Master, Eight Diagram Pole Fighter and of course, anything with Bruce Lee in it.

The plots were often ridiculous, but occasionally profound, and surprisingly, one could learn a lot about Chinese culture and history. For example, at twelve years old, I knew nothing about the enmity between China and Japan. In The Chinese Connection, there’s a scene when Bruce Lee’s character tears down a sign outside of a Martial Arts school that reads “No Dogs or Chinese Allowed”. My mother had discussed segregation with me, so on that level, I knew that the sign was wrong, I just didn’t know why, but I wondered why the Japanese and the Chinese hated each other in Lee’s movies. (I wouldn’t find out why until I researched the topic myself. For certain, it was never mentioned in any of my high school history classes.) Watching Chinese action movies was also the first time it occurred to me that racism and bigotry was a global phenomenon. That the situation between Whites and Blacks in America was not an  entirely unique phenomenon and that other cultures we’re dealing with similar issues.

But most of the time, the movies were just fun and funny. Afterwards, my brothers and I would decide who got to play the iconic White Haired Villain, (as the oldest, this role often fell to me), then pretend to beat each other up with fake punches, in an attempt to prove whose Kung Fu was better, or try to reproduce those dubbed voices, as we  protected our teacher’s honor or avenged our murdered fathers. Since we were  forbidden to actually hit each other, all our fights were always fake, anyway.

During the eighties, we discovered Japanese Ninja movies and dutifully set about procuring  throwing stars, and tearing up our mother’s walls by  throwing them all over the place. (We, of course, were never allowed to throw them at each other because they were actually sharp. Its all but impossible for kids to get these things now and I wonder whose bright idea it was, to sell them to kids at the local Chinese shop, for a dollar each. Incidentally, I got really good at throwing them. Holla  atcha Blackgirl Ninja, who is not actually allowed to hit you.)

Watching a good Martial Arts movie is like watching a ballet or a ballroom Mambo. The levels of speed, power and grace are found nowhere else in Action cinema. For every Baryshnikov or Gregory Hines, there’s an Action movie equivalent, who is a joy to watch.

These are my favorites, in no particular order:

Chow Yun Fat:

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The “Fatboy” first came to my attention in the movie The Killer, more than two decades ago and followed by other “gun fu” movies like Hardboiled. I haven’t seen everything he’s done, and I’d kind of forgotten about Chow Yun Fat, as a martial artist, after he started making American films. But he came back on my radar after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I loved the character of Li Mu Bai, and I particularly liked his graceful and intelligent fighting style. There’s no wasted movement and despite how lethal the character seems, the style is surprisingly meditative to watch.

Bruce Lee:

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Who doesn’t know about Bruce Lee, and what affect he had on the American public, back in the day? A surprising number of Black Americans were influenced by and admired his drive, wit and philosophy, even now. For many Black people, Lee’s philosophy was our first introduction to thinking critically about race on a global scale, about movies, Hollywood, and how all of it related to the martial arts. Bruce  was also an incredible presence on screen, as well. His speed and fierceness, often informed by his righteous indignation against the bad guys, was simply awesome to watch. Watching a Bruce Lee film is just a highly emotional experience for many of us.

Tony Jaa:

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I’d read about Tony in some martial arts magazine, long before I saw his first movie, The Protector. He reminds me of a much grimmer version of Jacke Chan. Like Jacke, everything you see him do onscreen, is actually him, not a stunt person and not CG, which makes his movies all the more fun, but not especially funny.

Donnie Yen: 

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The first time I saw Yen was in Once Upon a Time in China, fighting Jet li with bamboo poles. I just had to know who that guy was and I’ve been following his career ever since. I haven’t seen everything he’s done, but I’m working on it. My favorite movies with Donnie are Ip Man and Iron Monkey. Donnie takes his roles very seriously. He looks sharp, fast and totally committed to kicking his opponents ass.

Gordon Liu:

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Liu was one of the actors I grew up watching, having seen most of his films, with no idea that I was watching a legend. The first time I saw him was in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which I saw many times as a child and, at least in my house, we spoofed pretty often. It was the first time I had any idea that Shaolin was even real. Up to that time, Kung Fu was just something people did in movies, and The Shaolin Temple was not a real place. For me, Gordon Liu was my Shaolin rep.

Jackie Chan:

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One of my all time favorite martial artists, I’ve seen nearly every movie he’s ever starred in and even I few I shouldn’t ever have watched, as not all of them are good movies. Every now and then Jackie likes to do a serious and grim character, but I prefer his affable, goofy characters. If you’ve never seen a martial arts movie before, I would suggest starting with Jackie Chan’s Legend of Drunken Master (to be reviewed in part three of my little series).

Toshiro Mifune:

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I wasn’t introduced to Mifune until I was an adult. In fact I hadn’t watched very many Samurai films at all, beyond Shogun, which he also starred in. What do you want to guess was the first film I saw him in? That’s right. Seven Samurai! I was really surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did because I was prepared to be bored. Mifune shines in this movie. He is surprisingly funny, possibly insane, but very likable, talented and loyal to his friends. Since then, I’ve  seen him in many roles but I always come back to Seven Samurai as my favorite.

Sonny Chiba:

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Our mother would not allow me to watch The Streetfighter the first time it played on TV. She said I was too young, after she watched it first. I wasn’t allowed to see it until I was about 14 or 15, and I get why. She had no problem with us watching Bruce Lee movies, but Sonny Chiba ain’t Bruce Lee.  He doesn’t try to be handsome, charming, witty, funny, none of that. This man is seriously grim and his attacks brutal. He doesn’t try to be pretty or graceful. He’s sort of like a human pit bull. I never get tired of watching Chiba’s movies but I do have to be in the right mood. These are not happy, lighthearted  films and I love that.

Michelle Yeoh:

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As much as I love Summer Glau, my heart belongs to Michelle first. Michelle, who is sometimes called Kwan in Thailand, also has a dancer’s past. The first time I saw her was in Wing Chun, which is still one of my favorite movies with a female lead. Chinese action movies didn’t seem to have the same kinds of issues with having female action stars that Hollywood did. Michelle is very quick and graceful on screen, she doesn’t try to overpower her male co-stars, she prefers to outwit them, and  can hold her own with any of them. If you want a good idea of just how far she’s willing to go, then watch her first movie with Jacke Chan titled Police Story.

Jet Li: 

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I’m not sure there are enough words to express how much I love watching Jet Li’s movies. The movies may occasionally be awful, but he never makes a bad move in them. It’s my understanding that he is an actual martial artist,  having won several Wu Shu tournaments in China, and that he got his name, Jet, from being so fast. He has a brave, bold, fighting style, occasionally funny, witty,  fast, graceful and always fully committed. I’m always up to watch a Jet Li movie. From Once Upon a Time in China, to Fist of Legend, to Forbidden Kingdom, Jet always  brings his “A” game.

Honorable Mentions:

Zhang Ziyi

Cheng Pei Pei

Anita Mui

Note:

I am not a martial artist or a purist of  action cinema. I listed these artists by the names which I first encountered them, and the movies by the titles, under which, I first watched them. I’m merely an enthusiastic observer of martial arts movies. I know a lot of the tropes and can recognize differnet styles when I see them,  (Japanese vs. Chinese,  or Tiger vs Crane or Monkey, for example) but only from movies and documentaries. I’ve never been to a tournament, I don’t know anyone in that life, and I’d like to keep it that way. There’s movies and  there’s real life, and I’m not trying to conflate the two, or act like I’m an expert.

If you’re a purist who has a beef with any of the things I’ve said, you’re gonna have to take it to your own blog, because you won’t get a platform here. If you have a correction, on some point of order, however, then it’s okay to inform me in the comments.

And feel free to encourage me to post more on this because you’re gonna get it anyway.😃

I’m Afraid Of The Man in the Black Suit (Stephen King – Part Three)

Everyone has a least one “Black Suit “moment. A  time some mysterious “Other” comes out of nowhere to help or, possibly, hinder you. This person is present just long enough to affect your life, be remembered then disappear, never to be seen or heard from again.

I’m still examining why this story scares me, although  if I  look deep enough, it’s always about the same thing, isn’t it?

I wanted to talk about this particular King short story, separate from the others because I feel it has a special relevance. Remember, fear is personal.

I am a rational woman, who does not believe in the supernatural. I don’t believe in the existence of angels or demons. I don’t fear the boogeyman either, but I keep both feet under my blankets at night, just in case.

In my life, I’ve experienced two major “Black Suit” moments.  Both of them were strange, inexplicable, terrifying and, like Kevin Deleven’s Sun Dog, they belonged  to me and no one else.

One of these occurred at a bus stop, on a beautiful morning, in crowded downtown Columbus, where I became convinced that the tall, rather handsome White man, standing next to me, was a malevolent person. I thought he was “bad”. (Sick-Bad, as a child would think it.)

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I don’t know where this thought came from.

I consider myself a rational individual, an atheist who doesn’t believe in any of the Supernatural trappings I regularly read about. I didn’t  think he was going to hurt me. In fact, I don’t believe he noticed me, which made it all the more frightening because, at any moment, he could have. I was standing only 2 or 3 feet to his left.  He scared me enough to make me walk five blocks, to another bus stop. We never met, and for that, I’m very glad.

Why did this occur to me and why did I fixate on him? The street was full of people. I could have chosen anyone, so why this man? Most disturbing, was that the the logical, rational me,  couldn’t talk myself out of the fear. It wasn’t panic.  I’ve experienced panic and this was a different experience. Panic erases thought. My thoughts were clear. Over the years, just like the character in King’s story, I’ve tried to put a rational face on what happened that day, but that long ago fear still resonates.

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The second time was a more memorable event. Once again this was in Columbus and it was about 2 or  3 in the morning, at a friend’s home. (I hadn’t been drinking. I’ve never drunk alcohol, never been drunk, or under the influence of anything but my imagination, which is bad enough.) We’d  been indoors, playing board games, and I went outside for some fresh air. The street was clear, quiet, and peaceful. Most of the  families in the neighborhood were probably asleep.

I walked down the short drive to the curb,  looked around for a minute, turned to go back inside, and saw a Black woman standing about 5 feet away. I don’t know where she came from, as the street had been deserted just seconds ago, or how she got so close without me hearing her, but those things can be rationalized away. Her eyes were calm, even friendly, as she held out a tiny flower to me and said, with an empty voice,” I brought you a flower”. In itself, this is not a particularly terrifying act, but thinking about it scares the shit out of me today.

This happened more than twenty years ago.

Over the years, I’ve made up stories about her and what happened that night. Stories designed to make me feel less afraid.

The stories don’t work.

I’ve worked hard to convince myself I was being silly.  She was mentally ill, on drugs,  I wasn’t paying attention,  she came from the house next door, she didn’t look especially dangerous. None of these rationalizations  work to alleviate the fear I experienced, when this strange woman told me she had this flower, specifically for me.

All fear  is deeply personal.

Like Richard Kinnell’s Road Virus, that little, yellow flower belonged to me.

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Every instinct in my body screamed at me to stay away from that woman. I’m a person who listens to her instincts no matter how irrational they may seem. This was not panic. Panic erases thought.

This was dread.

This was fear.

When one of my friends came out to check on me, the only thing I could think to do, was alert him that I was scared, and let her know we weren’t alone anymore, as she couldn’t see him out of her line of sight, several feet away. I loudly greeted him as if I hadn’t just seen him a few minutes ago. He stopped moving and greeted me back. I looked at him to warn him to stay back and then I looked at her, to see what she would do. Still holding that flower, she said nothing else, put her arm down, turned around and calmly walked away.

I’m not a person who thinks much about the past, (and after I’m done telling this story, I intend to forget it again), but I revisit that night and my mind makes up stories about what she could have, would have, done to me. What if my friend hadn’t come? Did he save me from something and what could that possibly have been?

I can’t imagine. So I have nothing but fear.

Actually, I’ve met quite a number of unexplainable people in life, most of them  benign. People who show up, help me, give me advice, tell me a story  and are never seen or heard of again, even though I felt a great and inexplicable warmth towards themand looked forward to seeing them again.

Other, more superstitious people, would call them Angels or demons. People who live in a Stephen King world would assign purpose and meaning and that would make them feel better about what happened. I don’t have that luxury. My brain won’t let me lie to it, so I have to deal with the meaninglessness of these things, on my own. I don’t believe in such things and can only puzzle over these events and hope they don’t happen again.

“Fear comes with imagination, it’s a penalty, it’s the price of imagination.” – Thomas Harris, The Red Dragon.

This is why I’m scared of The Man In The Black Suit.

Stephen King Scared the S*** Out of Me (Part Two)

(This post is a coda to the previous one about Stephen King stories that most affected me. This post features the same list but is about the nature of fear in each of these stories. This post is dedicated to:

https://cadburypom.wordpress.com/

AKA: By Hook Or By Book)

I’m fascinated by the subject of fear. What am I afraid of? Why am I afraid of it? What is it about this particular movie, or that story, that strikes a  chord in me but maybe no one else? I think fear is something deeply personal and unique to the individual. What terrifies me is not going to do the same for you, although all our fear is really the same fear.

What scares you, may manifest as that something YOU haven’t personally experienced, or place you’ve never been, or heard of, and can’t imagine going to. Although, really, it’s all the same place.

I live in a relatively sheltered world. I always have. I’m well loved by my family and for the most part, the people in my orbit, have not been unreliable or monstrous. Most of the truly horrific things that have happened to women I know, have never happened to me. Other people’s emotional troubles don’t scare me and I don’t read those types of stories because I’ve been in those spaces. Those spaces hold no fear for me. I’ve already taken the tour, seen the layout, even rented for a while.

I think the reason why these particular stories and novels strike such a chord with me, is the idea of a my rather undramatic existence being  broadsided by the inexplicablle, or the inevitable. I’m a rational person who looks for the explanations of things. It’s one thing to worry about that girl snubbing me at the Lane Bryant, but what if it’s some thing that has no earthly business being in a suburban shopping mall. And why is it pretending to be a sales clerk?

Fear is personal. Like The Thing, it manifests as something unique to the individual. For some people it takes the form of loss of a child. For others it’s loss of self. But for some of us, it takes a more direct approach. This is the fear of dying.

The Sun Dog:

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I spoke abut this story’s relevance to me in an earlier Stephen King post here:

https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/stephen-king-saved-my-life/

Kevin receives a Polaroid camera for his birthday, that seemingly takes the same photograph over and over, an image of a large Black Dog. It’s not an accident that the dog is black. In mythology, the Black Dog, Black Shuck or Hellhound, is often a portent of death. King just makes all this  literal. The dog isn’t just a portent of  Death. It is actually Death. What makes this story especially terrifying, is this malevolent entity is, clearly and specifically, stalking Kevin. Because fear is personal. One could argue that the dog represents Kevin’sfear of dying, or the loss of his childhood, or that the reason the dog appeared is because he’s at the crossroads of maturity and innocence…blah, blah, blah.  That’s  okay, if you wanna get deep, but sometimes a steak is just a steak.

When the dog catches him, everyone and everything Kevin loves will die.

This story can be found in the anthology Four Past Midnight.

1408:

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In my opinion, 1408 is one of the most terrifying short stories ever written. 1408 is about dying, brutally, horribly, knowing that it’s coming and not knowing why or how. When Gerald Olin gives Mike Enslin a complete rundown of just how many people have died in room 1408, that’s when the chills begin. That he memorized the  sheer number of deaths, and how they occurred, speaks to just how much he fears that room. Especially when he also states that hotels do not like to keep empty rooms. The fear reaches  its peak, when you realize that 1408 is not haunted in the traditional sense. In fact, the room isn’t haunted at all.  It is a trap, that looks like a room. This is a recurring theme in Kings fiction, as well.

If you’re one of those people who loves to list, name, catalog and alphabetize, then this story will either have you  biting your knuckles in suspense, or mad as a wet hen, because nothing is spelled out for you.

King has a knack for imagining the inexplicable. I prefer the short stories because there’s  a wealth of details that make you care, in a very short time, about its characters and no explanation for what happens to them or why.

The movie is not this story, however. You will be disappointed, so watch the movie first.

This story can be found in the anthology, Everything’s Eventual.

Gray Matter:

GrayMatter2

One of the first Short stories I’d ever read by King. I was maybe twelve or fourteen and it was King’s first anthology, titled Night Shift. It’s a simple story about a man who drinks some bad beer and begins to change into something. Told from the point of view of his terrified son, it takes on another dimension of horror entirely. Once again, as in The Shining, there’s the transformation of a parental figure into something malevolent, dangerous and unreliable. A lot of King’s stories consist of such elements. The trustworthy adult, item, or event, that goes horribly wrong, after which order may, or may not, be restored.

This is the entire premise of The Stand.

One of the standout chills, in Gray Matter, isnt about the actual monster, but a tale  within a tale, of a man who comes across a giant spider in the sewers. Spiders, and sentient goop that eats people, are definitely my “things”. My personal manifestations of death often take the form of monsters.

There’s a Gray Matter short film available on YouTube. The story is available in the anthology, Night Shift.

The Mist:

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Sometimes being scared is just fun. Sometimes people just want to run up to that sleeping bear and poke it, or double dare to go into the neighborhood haunted house. With stories like The Mist, you get to experience the feeling of danger, without actually being in danger. With horror stories you get to walk right up to death, look it in the eye and run away.

Once again, though, it’s the humans who are the real monsters. Mrs. Carmody is as much a manifestation of death as the creatures in the mist. The death of reason, of sanity, of a mind that has completely surrendered to irrationality. She’s  the sort of person people dismiss or make fun of, but drop her into an intense event, where she appears to have answers, and you will produce a monster.

The Mist is a perfect example of putting twenty people in a room with death, and getting ten different reactions. You have the deniers, what is called “The Flat Earth Society; people who refuse to believe that anything bad is happening. They’re not going to die. They go into the mist and are promptly eaten. Some people react with the bluster of toxic masculinity, some of them run away mentally or physically. Some of them try appeasement to alleviate their fear, including the idea of human sacrifice. Is this not some of the twelve stages of grief?

There are actual monsters in this story. All of them huge, all of them dangerous and disgusting. My favorite manifestation, of course,  is The Leviathan, a monster so awe-some, it might as well be a god.

This is a story I often think about. (Usually when I’m at the grocery store.) I look around at the people shopping and wonder which people will try to bargain, which will run away, which ones will try to fight. And which coping mechanism will I choose? I like to believe I’d fall into David Draytons crew, but who knows?

Fear Changes Everything.

The movie was beautifully and faithfully realized by Frank Darabont in 2007. (Mr. Darabont is incapable of making a bad King movie.) The story is available in Skeleton Crew.

Battleground: 

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The first time I saw Toy Story I was really creeped out by the Army men and this story is why. As a child, who hasn’t imagined their toys coming to life and having adventures?  Battleground is the evil, Anti-Toy Story, about a hitman who kills a toymaker, (Why?) and gets a special package delivered to his Penthouse, that contains real, live, Army men, who proceed to kick his ass all over his apartment, even though Renshaw fights valiantly. One manifestation of death fighting another, and losing. I remember when I first started reading the story. I remember thinking it would be fun, and it was.

Until I ran into one of those personal fears, we talked about earlier. It’s all fun and games, until the manifestation starts to resemble someone you know.

I grew up during the Cold War and had recurring, horrifying dreams of dying by fire. Any  of you who understand that era, and read Battleground, will understand why the ending seriously threw me. Those of you too young to remember that era, Google “Cold War” and “MAD” then go read the story. In a Stephen King story, anything can be a manifestation of death.

This story was faithfully filmed for the television version of the  Nightmares and Dreamscapes anthology, and starred William Hurt, as Renshaw. Those of you old enough to remember Karen Black’s Trilogy of Terror, will be heavily reminded of Richard Matheson’s short story, Prey, from that movie, (Go see it! It’s on Youtube.) and if you look really close, you can see a special object in Renshaw’s personal collection.

After that, go read the sequel to Prey, titled Quarry by Joe Lansdale.

Mile 81:

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I just re-read this story. I probably shouldn’t have done that at 3AM, but sometimes I’m not too smart about such things and it took some time to go back to sleep, but that’s okay. One of the themes that often crop up in a King story is the malignancy of inanimate things. A something that has personally chosen to kill just you.  From  Chattery Teeth, to The Monkey, to Trucks, King has a knack for making us think a little more deeply about the objects we use everyday. How the unexpected and unexplained can happen in  the most innocuous situations.

A nondescript Station wagon pulls up to a deserted, highway rest stop and proceeds to eat any human beings that come close to  it. King takes a basic premise, something we’ve all done at some point, and makes us think twice about it. Who hasn’t been the Good Samaritan, who stops to help some distressed driver? Hell ,even I’ve done it. But in King’s world, being good does not save you. The monster in this story preys on our desire to help others, to do good deeds, to be good people.

When it rains, it rains on the Just and Unjust alike. -Matthew 5:45

The Road Virus Heads North:

Road Virus

Who hasn’t had  that dream where something is,relentlessly stalking you and there’s no  escape? King is very good at writing variations on this theme. Like Keven Deleven,  in The Sun Dog, you have a someone who finds an object with a malevolent being attached, which seems to exist for the joy of killing them, specifically. In the Road Virus, the killer is, like the Terminator, like The Black Dog, yet another unrelenting  version of Death.

Richard Kinnell is a horror writer who finds a painting, with a sordid history, that greatly appeals to him. As he becomes increasingly disturbed by it, and after several attempts to rid himself of the painting , he realizes that the car in the painting, driven by The Road Virus, is stopping at all the places he visited after its purchase, and murdering the people he came in contact with. The horror here isn’t just that The Road Virus means death for Kinnell, but for anyone who wanders into Kinnell’s orbit. In King’s universe, being innocent can’t save you, either.

Are you beginning to sense an overall theme here? The relentless, unstoppable, inevitable unknown, is one of the deepest most primal fears of mankind. Nearly every story of fear is about the inevitability of death and almost no one has written more successful variations on it, than King.

The inevitability of death is the reason mobsters threaten families, wives get fridged, and children get kidnapped in book after book, and movie after movie. Humans have crafted entire fictional industries around the flight or fight reflex, the idea of fighting death, running away from death, or bargaining with death.

Every Action movie where the world gets saved by the heroes, who kicked death’s ass, every Thriller in which the manifestaion gets defeated by “The Final Girl”, its Jaws, The Terminator, Jason, Freddy,  Darth Vader, its Mrs. Car out. Every monster is just another manifestation of the inevitable, only in real life, the monster always wins because nobody gets out of here alive. How do you process that?

Its only in fiction that we get to win. To alleviate the terror of knowing we won’t.

This is why I read King.

In part three, I specifically discuss, why I’m scared of The Man In The Black Suit.

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